June 20 / Proverbs 20 / John 13

wash feet

Proverbs 20:9

No one can say, “I am innocent; I have never done anything wrong.”  [NCV]

All have sinned & fallen short of YHWH.
We have all screwed up.
We are all saved by the exact same outside-of-ourself-beyond-our-power epic historical event: Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.
So we are never in position to judge.

Nor are we ever in a position to think of ourselves as more hopeless than anyone else.

John 13:3-5

Jesus knew that the Father had given Him power over everything and that He had come from God and was going back to God. So during the meal Jesus stood up and took off His outer clothing. Taking a towel, He wrapped it around His waist. Then He poured water into a bowl and began to wash the followers’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.

Jesus knew He had all power over the the universe, heaven, EVERYTHING…

So He washed these dude’s stinky filthy feet..

When you know, ultimately, who you are…who’s you are, nothing is beneath you. No act of service is too small or unimportant.

You are totally free.

Free from anyone or anything else defining who you are.

Your true story is what God has written about you.

Who’s story do you choose to believe about yourself?

Your abusive/absent earthly father’s?

Your unloving high school teacher’s?

Your former boss’?

Society’s?

The military’s?

False friends who have burned you?

Or God’s thru the giving of His Son for you, ascribing you infinite value?

Who do you allow to define you?

Who do you allow to define you?

Who do you allow to define you?

Who knows the truth about who you really are? The whole truth? Who knows you? Who has the authority to say who you are?

For a hint: Read Psalm 139:1-18

Also:

Isaiah 43:18-19a,25 [NCV]

The LORD says, “Forget about what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new things I am going to do. It’s already happening. Don’t you see it?”….I, I am the One who erases all your sins, for my sake; I will not remember your sins.”

2 Corinthians 5:16-21 [NLT]

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know Him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to Him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

 

June 19 / Proverbs 19 / John 12

kill Lazarus1

Proverbs 19:3

People’s own foolishness ruins their lives,
but in their minds they blame the Lord.

God is good.

He will never ruin your life.

People “ruin” people’s lives.

And are we ever really ruined???

For those of us who are followers of Jesus, Dallas Willard reminds us that “No irredeemable harm can ever come to us.”

God never fails you. If you believe He does, you have a false concept of God. You do not believe in the God that Jesus of Nazareth revealed to us.

We can never forget that all authority has been given to Jesus, and we are empowered from on high by the Holy Spirit that He died to send us. We all have access to this empowered, free, abundant life. It is simply in the ignoring of this great truth where we see such evil and harm and hate. It is not due to Jesus not really getting His act together. We have a part in this, a participatory part. We really are the physical body of Christ now. We really do have power over earthly kingdoms here and now.

This is NOT “prosperity gospel” BS. Rather this is thy kingdom come, here and now available. Jesus is always open armed to bestow good upon us, making us more than conquerors. It may not look as we anticipate, but if we genuinely trust Him with our welfare, He will do good to us, what is best for us. Sure, you can look at all the awful stuff happening in the world and get depressed, but while you are trudging in the depths, you’re not seeing all the good that is happening (or participating in it!)–and there is a lot. There is a lot of good.

In case you need a little inspiration, you may check into these two ministries I’ve been personally involved with and amazed by:

outreachindiana.org

lastbell.org

Trust

is

key.

Like a friend wisely said the other day, we can choose a life of trying to please God, or a life of trusting God. One is exhausting, the other is liberating and restful.

John 12:9-11

So the chief priests planned to kill Lazarus as well, because many of the Judaeans were leaving their side on account of him, and were believing in Jesus.

Hey let’s go against everything we teach so that we can keep teaching.

This is a clear sign you have veered off the path you started on.

What Is God Like? part 4

What Is God Like?

True Narratives Smashing Distorted Concepts

part 4

“God is Generous”

“The process of spiritual transformation in Christ is one of progressively replacing…destructive images & ideas with the images & ideas that filled the mind of Jesus Himself…Spiritual formation in Christ moves toward a total interchange of our ideas & images for His.” -Dallas Willard

~”Little Lady Prophet” street preacher

> Clear narrative that God is mad at you.

> No mention of God’s love, grace, or even Jesus’ name.

False narrative: Earning favor

~Love & forgiveness are commodities that are exchanged for performance. God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness must be merited by right living. What God most wants is for us not to sin & instead to do good. Obviously, a half-truth. He desires that we don’t sin, yes, but more so to know Him & love Him (then we sin less).

~Cultural narrative of earning

  > Earning is the means by which we obtain things.

> When every person in every situation in every day of our lives treats us on the basis of how we look, act, & perform, it is difficult not to project that on to God. [Ps. 50:21]

How does our culture support the narrative of earning?

Have you felt this pressure?

~Guilt, fear, shame, & hunger for acceptance become the primary motivators in our performance-based culture.

~The (misunderstood) biblical narrative of earning

 > Israel-exile, yes for their habitual disobedience, but the larger narrative is that they were chosen by Yahweh to be His people…just because!

> David- baby died seemingly because he was born out of adultery, but the larger narrative is that he was not killed & also had Solomon from the same woman & he grew to be rich, powerful, & wise.

**To say that sin has consequences is much different than saying that because of our sin God rejects us.

The larger narrative is Yahweh’s “steadfast love” (hesed). The dominant narrative of the Bible is one of unearned grace (you are special because of who you are), of a

God whose love is not thwarted by human sinfulness, & of a Christ who dies for sinners [Rom. 5:8]. The minor narratives are a part of the ambiguity of all epic stories.

The metanarrative of the Bible is the story of the steadfast love of God that culminates in the incarnation, death, & resurrection of God on behalf of a wayward world.

Therefore, we should interpret the entire Bible & each of its parts in light of Jesus.

Every story gets absorbed into the story of Jesus.

~The false narratives we hear from the church

> God is good. You are bad. Try harder.

> Ex. of misinterpretation of Hebrews 6:6

If you fell more deeply in love with God, how might that change your behavior?

Jesus’ narrative: The generous God

~Imagine you know nothing about God & you hear Jesus tell this story in Mt.20:1-15.

~A parable of generosity

The world of merit vs. the world of grace..

“Are you envious because I’m so generous?”

~”Jesus reveals a God who does not demand, but who gives; who does not oppress but who raises up; who does not wound but who heals; who does not condemn but forgives.” -Brennan Manning

~God is so wealthy that His chief delight is to give.

Do you agree that God is generous? & gives to us freely? Why or why not?

Generosity & scarcity

~Generosity happens when you live in abundance and/or compassion. God is limitless in both areas.

~Love, forgiveness,acceptance, kindness are not in limited supply. So why do we hold back? Because we live in scarcity! We feel we must protect what we have. We never got enough growing up (or so we may feel).

~Yahweh is constantly generous. What else do we really need? You deserve nothing you have- creation, air, sun.

What are some ways you have experienced the unearned blessing of God?

We have His love, food, clothes, shelter. What else do you need?

What were we created for? Matanoia. John the Baptist. Prepare the way.

*So whenever we are unhappy while having all these things, it is out of complete selfishness.

What the God of Jesus really wants

~What does God want from me? Jesus would answer, “To know Him & to love Him.”

Do you see how much sense this makes? Greatest commandment reminder.

Not doing anything, but loving Him. You’ll then do automatically, but sin does damage relationship.

~”It is a grief to the heart of God when we try to provide things for Him…It is a grief to Him, too, when we try to do things for Him, for He is so very, very able. He longs that we will just let Him do & do & do.” -Watchman Nee

~Westminster Larger Catechism of 1648

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: Man’s chief & highest end is to glorify God, & fully to enjoy Him forever.

Do you think God wants you to enjoy Him?

Do you think we will have to give account for all the blessings we took for granted & did not enjoy?

“The greatest honor we can give to God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love. What God most wants is to see you smile because you know how much God loves you.” -Julian of Norwich

How does it feel to know God delights in you? Why?

“Have you ever tried to save a drowning man? The trouble is that his fear prevents him trusting himself to you. When that is so, there are just two ways of going about it. Either you must knock him unconscious & then drag him to the shore, or else you must leave him to struggle & shout until his strength gives way before you go to his rescue. If you try to save him while he has any strength left, he will clutch at you in his terror & drag you under, & both he & you will be lost. God is waiting for your store of strength to be utterly exhausted before He can deliver you. Once you have ceased to struggle, He will do everything. God is waiting for you to despair.” -Watchman Nee

~A God I have to do things for is difficult to love.

~A God who delights in me I can’t help but love.

The God who delights in you

~What if God is not mad at you?

What if He delights in you despite how you look, feel, what you do or don’t do? The only possible response is absolute delight in return. [I John 4:10-11]

~Our love for God does not determine God’s attitude toward us. While we were scum, He sent His son to reconcile us to Himself so we could be in union.

~The primary thing God wants from us is not improved moral behavior (which will come), but to love God because He first loves us.

The most important thing about you

~”What comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you…Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question , ‘What comes into your mind when you think of God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.” -A.W. Tozer

~Our thoughts about God will determine how we live.

~What we think God is like will determine the relationship we have with Him.

~We see what we are ready to see, expect to see, and even desire to see.

~If you examine the accounts of peoples’ great moments of breakthroughs, they usually are not referring to what they see as much as how they see.

How do your beliefs about God explain how you live your life?

~If we have low or false views of God, we are actually committing a form of idolatry, worshipping a false god.

~As you get to know the God that Jesus revealed, you will fall more & more in love with

Him. How could you not??? He’s perfect in every good way & is out for your good.

Why would you stay away from that? Why would you not spend time with that?

June 18 / Proverbs 18 / John 11

Caiaphas1

Proverbs 18:2
Fools do not want to understand anything.
They only want to tell others what they think. [NCV]

Proverbs 18:4
One can drown in words,
but wise speech is a continual source of refreshment.

Proverbs 18:8
People love to hear gossip, probably because it makes you feel better about yourself.

It temporarily takes the focus off your own broken state that needs healing.

I bet the enemy loves this.

Proverbs 18:9

A person who doesn’t work hard is just like someone who destroys things. [NCV]

When you are lazy, you affect so many besides yourself.
You rob others of blessing that YHWH would love to bestow upon others through you.

Sitting around, keeping to yourself, takes away from community, from relationships.

I bet the enemy loves this.

We are made to thrive & grow via relationships.
Encourage someone everyday.
The power of this is immense.

John 11:49-53

But one of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, addressed them. “You know nothing at all!” he said. You haven’t worked it out! This is what’s best for you: let one man die for the people, rather than the whole nation being wiped out. He didn’t say this of his own accord. Since he was high priest that year, it was a prophecy. It meant that Jesus would die for the nation; and not only for the nation, but to gather into one the scattered children of God. So from that day on they plotted how to kill him. [KNT]
The truth of YHWH is sometimes spoken from the lips of those who don’t even realize what they are saying.

Be aware of God everywhere.

He may speak to you today from a person or thing you would least expect.

Truth is truth, no matter who may be speaking it.

June 17 / Proverbs 17 / John 10

mother-and-child-susanne-van-hulst

John 10:9

I am the gate. If anyone comes in by me, they will be safe, and will go in and out and find pasture.

Jesus is the gate leading to God.

He has done everything for us in order to give us eternal life, which in Jewish writing is “the life of God’s coming age.” Jesus said eternal life was to know YHWH, the one true God, and the One He sent, Jesus Christ. Jesus the Messiah. Jesus the Anointed One of God.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately of this life in terms of preparation for the life to come. What if this is like 50, 60, 70 years of training for the real thing? The real thing will, in fact, be ruled by YHWH in every aspect. So start now by getting on board with who He is and what He is like.

The only way to have this kind of life is to go thru the gate that is Jesus of Nazareth. Following Jesus with your life is to experience God. And that is to have life that is overflowing out of you.

God loves you simply because you are from Him, part of Him, made in His image. There are traces, even amongst our sin, of God in us. And He loves that. He loves you for that, not because you’re perfect. God loves you for His own sake, not for your sake. (So get over yourself!) A parent loves a baby child not for their ability to do many things for them, for they cannot. They love the child because he or she is a part of them, because of their deep connection. But sadly it is true, that that child can stray far from their connection, and put “distance” between them. The loving parent, tho heart-broken, stands always with open arms, ready to receive them, like the father with his wayward son Jesus told us about.

God desires us to throw ourselves down at His mercy in complete surrender. Surrender to His love which should never be confused with human love. A good parent desires surrender of their child’s will to their own because they know it is for the good of the child, since the parent wishes only good will toward him or her.

“Do as I say if you want to live life to its fullest” might be a better version of what many of us have perceived as “Keep every one of these rules or else I will be constantly angry and displeased with you!”

There’s only one Gate that leads to life overflowing, but many are the gates that lead to life being stolen.

Proverbs 17:24

The person with understanding is always looking for wisdom, but the mind of a fool wanders everywhere.

Wisdom seeks to do a few things well, to master a few good habits.

To be an “Essentialist.”

Focusing on the basic things that really matter is wise. If you form just two or three new and good habits a year, you’re doing really really well.

We don’t need to know very much, but to actually act on what we know.

June 16 / Proverbs 16 / John 9

jar of smoke

Proverbs 16:4

The LORD has prepared everything of His purpose-even the wicked for the day of disaster.

Man, this is one of those verses that just explodes my little brain. Makes me think immediately of Psalm 115:3Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases. That’s it at the end of the day, isn’t it?

God is God.

God is sovereign.

God is mystery to be embraced, not answers to be managed.

And yet, somewhat paradoxically, He has revealed enough of Himself for us to be able to know Him and love Him. And this is what we must concentrate on. What has He revealed to us, to you, that He wants you to hook in to? There is plenty to anchor to. Just look at the Bible, or even the parables of Jesus alone and how much has been written on them.

Volumes.

This proverb does not contradict the idea that those who turn to God in repentance will be welcomed by Him. Rather, the proverb makes two points: God is sovereign and His purposes are not thwarted by the wicked. The verse also affirms that deeds have consequences, and the sovereign God sees to it that there is just retribution. Every act of the wicked has its appropriate consequences.

-from The Apologetics Study Bible

If that commentary helps, great. If not, throw it out.

Spend your time wisely drinking from the waters of YHWH revealed thru Jesus that are available to us. May we not waste time in pointless speculation trying to answer all of our “whys” that usually just take us down an unhealthy and unfruitful road of conjecture.

Proverbs 16:6

…one turns from evil by the fear of the LORD.

To turn from that which is sin, you must embrace something else more tightly. We know that we don’t just stop something by concentrating our energy on the “something” to be stopped. We focus on something else more. Something that is good.

One of those preacher illustrations that will always stick with me was from a Baptist pastor back in the early 90’s. He said if you have a jar filled with smoke, and you want to get all of the smoke out of it, there’s a couple of ways to go about this. You first take the lid off the jar, then you can use your hand to try to move the smoke out. You can turn the jar on its side and wait…But the one way to insure that all of the smoke is out of the jar is simply to fill the jar with water, for then there will be no room for anything else.

You must fear God more than the loss of that thing you hold on to.

As Yoda wisely told us, fear of losing what you love (good or bad) leads to the dark side.

John 9

If someone’s heart has been truly regenerated by Jesus, who cares when, how, or where it happened? If it’s real, it’s real. Rejoice with them! It’s almost humorous (with our now 20/20 hindsight vision), the ridiculous length the Pharisees went to in testing this guy. They had to make sure all was done according to their interpretation.

Which is more important:

A heart for Jesus?

Or following all the rules?

John 9:39

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgement, in order that those who do not see will see and those who do see will become blind.”

This passage seems to suggest that Jesus has come not only to give sight to the blind but also to cause some who currently see to “become blind.” However, the point of this passage is not that Jesus makes people blind but rather that he judges those who deny their own spiritual blindness. The imagery of giving sight to the blind and the blinding of those who see is a common OT theme. The Pharisees think they can see, so when the true light shines, they refuse to look closely. In other words, “those who see” is Jesus’ sarcastic way of saying “those who think they can see.” Jesus repeatedly calls the Pharisees “blind guides.” As Jesus makes clear, it is not the Pharisees’ sin, but their repudiation of grace that renders them lost. There is no cure for people who reject the only cure there is, and no hope for those who are wise in their own eyes. While Jesus brought salvation to those who believe in him, condemnation awaits those who reject him.

-from The Holman Apologetics Commentary Of The Bible

It is not your sin, but your repudiation of grace that renders you lost.

There is no hope for those who are wise in their own eyes.

There is no cure for people who reject the only cure there is.

 

June 15 / Proverbs 15 / John 8

He and I

Proverbs 15:8

The prayer of the upright delights the LORD.

Have you ever thought that you can delight God?

God can of course bring you joy and peace, but did you know that you can actually bring Him delight?

He likes you. He loves for you to come to Him and spend time with Him and just talk to Him. He delights in this. I’ve found it very tranquil to just share my day with Him and then run thru the day’s events with Him before falling asleep at nite, thanking Him for all the goodness of the day of which there is always much.

Before sleeping, I read a couple of entries from He And I by Gabrielle Bosis. I cannot recommend this work highly enough for tranquil resting in peace. It is filled with loving and affirming words she heard from “The Voice” over the last fifteen years or so of her life. The Voice, she says, was that of Christ. It’s amazing, powerful.

Proverbs 15:15

All the days of the poor are hard, but those with a cheerful heart have a continual feast.

Some brutal honesty is usually helpful. It sucks being poor. It sucks to struggle. It just does. Yet at the same time, your thinking determines your happiness and satisfaction more than your circumstances. If you have a happy heart that continually looks to God for everything, you can be always satisfied, always content.

Seek first the kingdom of God and everything you need will be supplied. Focus more on God than your problems.

Focus on problems=misery

Focus on God=joy and shalom

Many people prefer the certainty of misery over the misery of uncertainty.

Proverbs 15:21

Don’t be surprised when people are enjoying folly. They don’t know what they don’t know. They’ve sadly not experienced a better way, a better life, life in Christ. Perhaps they’ve heard of this, but have never seen it modeled. So why would they seek something they really know nothing much of?

Who is in your life that you can be a light to? Who are you modeling the joyful life in Christ for? Who will you affect today? How will you affect them?

Proverbs 15:28

Good people think before they answer. 

They take the time to study how to answer.

John 8:28

You will know that these things I do are not by my own authority but that I say only what the Father has taught me.

How we should emulate this success model Jesus has lived out on earth (as in heaven) for us!

Every morning I work hard to listen to God thru His Scripture. I make every effort to focus more on God than the words on the page so that I may hear what He would say to me each day, what He has to teach me. This is effort to be sure, but I feel it is very important. The point is to hear from God, not study a book. Tho study has its place and is good, I think it should be done in a mode of listening to the Father.

We do not grow by approaching God and His word with our preconceived notions and our own thoughts of what it is conveying, but rather The person who accepts God accepts what God says (v.47). And this is where study has its place. Theology is a good thing, for it is simply the study of God. So we grow most with a teachable spirit, open and willing to learn what God would teach us even if we don’t love it or the method He uses, which many times is suffering of some kind.

Acceptance.

Acceptance is so key to this life.

Acceptance of what is.

Acceptance of yourself.

In Christ, God accepts you. So why wouldn’t you accept you? He loves you the way you are, but doesn’t want you to stay there. He wants to grow you into His Son.

Let’s start today to work at speaking what we slowly and thoughtfully hear more than what we quickly think in a reactionary or even obscurantist manner.

June 14 / Proverbs 14 / John 7

dinner convo

Proverbs 14:10

No one else can know your sadness, and strangers cannot share your joy.

We cannot fully know or understand or comprehend another person’s pain or joy. We just can’t. May we never forget this basic truth which remembrance will keep us in non-judgement.

But I do believe in Christ, in meditation, in diligence, we can enter into a person’s sadness and joy on a level that is beyond human…at a higher consciousness if you will. We may, through intentionality, enter into a solidarity with others that ushers in the peace of Christ experientially.

John 7:45-46

The Temple guards went back to the leading priests and the Pharisees, who asked, “Why didn’t you bring Jesus?” The guards answered, “The words He says are greater than the words of any other person who has ever spoken!”

No one ever spoke like this!

No one ever spoke like this because no one except Jesus was LOGOS* enfleshed. No other person ever embodied the pure Word of God.

Jesus did.

Therefore His words held the authority of YHWH, the Creator of all things. They have weight and meaning beyond human thinking. And this is why we should give attention and adherence to His words well above anyone else’s.  This is why we live much more at peace when we listen to and for Jesus speaking to us thru every and all mediums. Thru every person. When listening to a sermon or reading a book, do not focus on the preacher or author, but rather center your attention on Jesus, the Word incarnated, and what He is saying to you. And not messages for yourself only, but also for others and even the world. I can hardly explain the peace and higher consciousness I experience when doing this–when listening to and for God in every moment, in every thing. (And this is also the path to becoming unoffendable.)

So here’s a little example: Just this morning, while meditating on this passage, listening to YHWH, I had the Frozen song “Let It Go” stuck in my head. Probably because my girls listen to it and sing it about every nine minutes. So I started to calmly pray to God that He would remove this distraction from me. But before I could even finish asking, I felt Him stop me and encourage me to practice the very thing He was teaching me thru His word right then. Instead of pushing the song away, I began to listen to and for Jesus thru it. The specific words to the song (as I heard them in my head) I kept hearing were “Let it go, let it go, this perfect girl is gone” as well as “It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.” And I reflected on the truth of these words and what Jesus had to say.

Pretty obvious I’m guessing, but I’ll state it anyway. Letting go of having to be perfect is about as freeing as it gets. We are not perfect and we screw up everyday. Get over it. Quit beating yourself up. Quit being surprised by it. It does you no good. It does those around you no good. We’ve said before that self-loathing is simply laziness wrapped in a blanket of false humility. It keeps you stagnant and ineffective because you’re not working on growing or helping anyone else. You’re sitting there focused on yourself doing nothing. It’s very easy to do:

1) sit

2) self-loathe

3) keep doing for as long as you want

Is this what God wants? Is this the life Jesus paid for for us? Does He want us to strive to be perfect? Or does He want us to know and love Him? Once we accept that we are accepted in Christ, we are free indeed. And then we gain distance from what we’ve feared and the fear loses its grip on us. We’ve all experienced this I’m sure to varying degrees. Look back on things that once controlled you. You are no longer controlled by them. How? Distance. Distance from it. In your mind and in your heart. The sure way is to get so close to Jesus that you automatically distance yourself from what was controlling you.

Constant two-way communication with our ever present Papa in everything.

Some questions to ever keep asking ourselves:

Am I reading for information, or am I reading in order to know God more deeply?

Am I reading the Bible to hear God speak?

Do I go to church to encounter Jesus?


 

*Logos is the transliteration of a common Greek word that generally means “word,” “speech,” “account,” “story,” or “message.” Around 500 B.C. Greek philosophers began to adopt the word and use it to signify that which gives shape, form or life to the material universe. In the NT era this special use was operative alongside the more general use.

…[John’s] use of logosseems to imply that the word he is speaking of is that prophetic word which goes forth from God’s mouth to accomplish creation, judgement, redemption and renewal. John uses logos because it is the natural word for expressing the meaning of the Hebrew word dabar when that word was used in the context of God’s revelation. Beginning with its first sentences the Gospel asserts that Jesus is God’s final Revelator (Heb.1:1-2).

-From Dictionary Of Jesus And The Gospels

June 13 / Proverbs 13 / John 6

life

Proverbs 13:20

Spend time with the wise and you will become wise, but the friends of fools will suffer. [NCV]

You become the average of the three to five people you spend the most time with. (And yes, we do say this over and over)

This is why I surround myself with brilliant, loving people. It rubs off.

I do think we need to be careful not to avoid certain people who we may consider “weaker” than us. For the strong and weak must be together for spiritual growth to occur.

But Proverbs is clear that it is unwise to make your closest friends those who are living lives of foolishness, those who are angry. If they are seeking transformation, that is one thing, but if not, you are likely to be brought down to some degree by them.

God doesn’t demand perfection, He just asks for pursuit. He pursues us.

Pursuit is really the difference when you think about it. I know no one who has mastered perfection and never falls. We all fall, right? But the difference in those pursuing and cultivating an intimate relationship with Christ is that they have a thousand times more joy than those who are not, even tho the “God-chaser” may even fall more often than the non-seeker.

I see those who are investing their life have joy and shalom in the midst of stumbles, as opposed to anxiety and guilt that precipitates from a lack of focus on God and an abundant, obsessive focus on self.

John 6:63

It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh doesn’t give life. The words I told you are Spirit, and they give life. [NCV]

Life, true abundant Life (zoe), comes from the Spirit, not the flesh.

It is the Spirit, and words of the Spirit that give life.

May our words be truly from the Spirit as we minister to and encourage others.

Listen to the Spirit and to people who listen to the Spirit.

Listen to the person who listens to God.

We are reminded here that it is the Spirit that gives life, not us. What a pressure-reliever! May we always come back to the fact that ministry is simply moving people on to God’s agenda, not our own. We have a saying in Ripple Effect we use to communicate this:

“I can’t heal you, but I can help lead you to the One who can.”

Remember, at the end of the day, we are leading people to Christ Himself, not to ourselves, not to a group, not to a church, not to a book. God no doubt works thru these things as well as a quadrillion others, but they are never the end–far, far from. Only a means.

God’s word has power. Use it instead of your own eloquence and persuasiveness (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Proclaim the quick, powerful, and sharp word of God via your modeling of a life lived under it and thru your voice, but only when prompted by the Spirit to do so.

Here’s some words from Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on this passage:

The preaching of the Word of God always leads to a sifting of the hearts of the listeners. God draws sinners to the Savior through the power of truth, His Word. Those who reject the Word will reject the Savior. Those who receive the Word will receive the Savior and experience the new birth, eternal life.

Do you feel your need because there is a spiritual hunger within? Are you willing to admit that need and come to the Savior? If you will, He will save you and satisfy you forever!

June 12 / Proverbs 12 / John 5

sorry so perfect

Proverbs 12:1

He who hates correction is stupid.

Why?

This person in not teachable. This person is not coachable.

Because this person is essentially saying, “I don’t want to improve.” “I’m fine with being stagnant.” Or, if I may borrow from This is Spinal Tap, “No thanks, I prefer to keep treading water in a sea of mediocrity.”

This is the subversive ridiculosity of despising correction. You obviously feel, on some level, that YOU HAVE ARRIVED. Which, if you attain perfection so early, doesn’t it kinda take the fun and motivation out of life? Just sitting around being perfect, turning down every single piece of advice and helpful hint given to you because you’ve already mastered it all. Sounds kinda lame actually.

Although, as we someday become one with the Father, that seems to me not to be lame. Total contentment and shalom all the time. Could be a radio station ad, “All Shalom. All the time!” But even then, we wouldn’t hate correction. We’d probably just nod and give a peaceful “Thank you.”

John 5:30

“I can do nothing alone. I judge only the way I am told, so my judgement is fair. I don’t try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me.” -Jesus the Messiah

Jesus was in constant, uninterrupted communion with His Father. He did only what He was told because He was ever listening. He was listening because He was all about pleasing His Father, Papa YHWH.

We too must be in constant communication with YHWH thru Yeshua and Holy Spirit in the midst of this distraction-packed culture we find ourselves in today. I still believe that that is one of our main enemies now in America–>distraction. It fosters laziness, blindness, and apathy. It’s quite an effective weapon employed by our enemy.

Scripture, prayer, and partnership.

These are our very effective weapons.

Every great mind I read agrees on these three. To follow Jesus here today, we must saturate ourselves with these three. Otherwise, we’re on our own power–like bringing a blade of grass to a laser cannon fight. Let’s use more powerful weapons.

Meditation on Scripture.

Prayer from the sincerity of our heart.

Daily communication and encouragement with spiritual partners. These are fellow followers of Jesus on this common journey, other “Pilgrims On the Way.”

These are tried and true ways to build an intimate relationship with the One who put us here and will keep us forever, as well as to combat distraction and the enemy himself.

Closely related to these three is service. This will be a natural result of following Christ. We are “Blessed to be a blessing” as the saying goes. We are not “Blessed to sit alone with our own private spirituality.” We must get beyond ourselves. God’s rescue plan is Jesus and His church. That is the healing of the nations, even tho we screw it up often. As we allow God to fill us up, we then pour ourselves out for others with the abundant overflow of the Holy Spirit in us.

The greatest gift we can give humanity is to become one with God so that everyone we come into contact with will be touched by His supernatural love flowing thru us.

Listen to Scripture.

Listen in prayer.

Listen to others.

Then do what you hear.

We can do nothing on our own.

Neither could Jesus, from what He said.