Monday, September 08, 2008

he will obey my teaching.

Two thots before our verse:
The best test of love for God is . . . ?

Tell me about your ultimate house guest? 

Now read this a few times with thought: 
“Jesus replied,
"If anyone loves me,
he will obey my teaching.
My Father will love him,
and we will come to him
and make our home with him.”
- John 14:23 (NIV)
Again: The best test of love for God is . . . ?
Tell me about your ultimate house guest? 

Don't go on about loving God if you do not obey Him.
Talk is cheap, love is not - it costs us our willfulness.

Want to draw in the love and closeness of God?

Love Him - i.e. obey Him.


For further study about God being close,
spend some time in Psalms 15 and 24

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Relationships: Sources of Stress & Comfort

Relationships:  Sources  of  Stress  &  Comfort 
More practical life training from 2 Corin. 7:2-7 
Kerry Doyal 
Finally, some good news! Titus has returned & told Paul that they are longing for & even zealous for him – what a relief. Paul is still seeking to develop & deepen a mutual relationship with the Corinthians. A one way relationship is not spiritually healthy or safe for these new believers. This is a sad reoccurring theme in this long, pleading, soul-bearing letter.
Still building a case of his trust worthiness, Paul is able to point to his behavior when he was among them. He writes of his comfort from hearing Titus’ report & shares his confidence that their relationship will survive this test. Once again, there is so much for us to learn about building, maintaining & repairing relationships that honor God & mutually edify. 
2 Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. 4 I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.
5 For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn— fighting without and fear within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. (ESV)

You can you make this appeal:  “Make room in your hearts for us. . . (vs. 2) 
When you have lived this way:  

We have wronged no one, godly methods

we have corrupted no one, godly message

we have taken advantage of no one.” godly motives 
you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. (vs. 3) 

Ministry = Making huge deposits in people’s relationship banks.
“I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you…” (vs. 4a)

Our comforting God often uses people to comfort us (vs. 4b-7)
“I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”
· Through Titus’ return / presence 

· By the Corinthians’ treatment of Titus 

· In the Corinthians’ attitude towards Paul 

· Is your life one that builds trust & confidence in others? Interdependency!

· Are you a source of comfort that God uses to bless & bring joy to others?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who Has Peace?

Who has peace?
Who is steady & sure - unshakable?

“Great peace have they who love your law, 
and nothing can make them stumble.”
  - Psalm 119:165    

Law-lovers live loose 
 (i.e. not strung out in anxiety) 
 They are sure of foot, on a safe path,
warned about the things that others trip over.

When you know the path, the right way,
when you follow the directions,
it eliminates a lot of getting lost,
being frustrated, and tense.

The Message - Ps. 119:165 
  For those who love what you reveal,
       everything fits—
     no stumbling around in the dark for them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I am... I am... I will... I will...

 "fear not, for I am with you;
  be not dismayed, 
  for I am your God;
  I will strengthen you, 
  I will help you,
  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 
       ~  Is. 41:10  -  ESV 

No need to be fearful
  • Note who is with His people
  • Note who He is
  • Note what He will do
  • Note His holy character
“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
 - Isaiah 41:10   -  NIV

Note to self - do not fear!


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

You have exalted above all

The temple was the place of God's presence on earth.  To bow towards it was to bow
before God, it was to seek to completely direct one's heart to God. Such an act would
lead to praise - exalting God's name due to His love and faithfulness.


“I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your
faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”- Psalm
138:2 (NIV)

His name is who He is, it is His person, His character.
His word expresses His character, reveals His name, nature.
WHAT could be higher than that, higher than HIM?

This truth - His greatness - leads to more praise, more bowing towards His presence, more
seeking His face, of HIM. The holy, exalted King we bow to is loving & faithful. He
alone is God.


Here is all of Psalm 138 (ESV)

Give Thanks to the LORD
Of David.

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love
and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word. [a]
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased. [b]

4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.


1. Psalm 138:2 Or you have exalted your word above all your name
2. Psalm 138:3 Hebrew you made me bold in my soul with strength

Monday, June 30, 2008

This verse is required regular reading

    Jesus  said: 

“For whoever wants to save
his life will lose it,

but whoever loses his life
for me will find it.”

Matthew 16:25 (NIV)

To live in Christ, we need to die to self
& do so daily.

Jesus calls us to lose our life for Him.
That - HE - is how we find our life.
To avoid Him to try & save your life
is to waste, forfeit your life.

In Him is life.
He is life.
To live is Christ.
Don't worry about getting a life
give yours to Him - that's life.


Is & will be

Is & will be:

“The LORD will be king
over the whole earth.

On that day there will be one LORD,
and his name the only name.”
- Zechariah 14:9

Jesus IS Lord - no doubt.
Pockets of rebellion, outposts of uprisings exist
- true too.

His reign is unequaled and some day
will be unchallenged.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess
the lordship of Jesus.

Inaugurated eschatology, some call it.

More than just good practice is the life
that already lives under His kingship.
Better than just avoiding the last minute rush
- make His name your only one.
Name above all names - supreme allegiance.

And He shall reign forever & ever.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Righteousness: A Primer and A Review

Righteousness:   A  Primer, A   Review

      The Righteousness He Requires

        Is the Righteous His Righteousness

            Requires Him to Require 

               (quote by ? ? ?)

This "tricky" phrase is worth some thought.
Go ahead. Re-read it.... 

It contains some of the essential truths of the gospel.
To help you grasp it better, let’s study the subject of
Righteousness and His Righteous Requirement of Righteousness.

The Problem: God requires us to be righteous to have fellowship with Him.
To be righteous is to be in right standing with God,
to be morally upright, sinless.
None of us are righteous, not even one of us (Romans 2:11, 12; 3:10-18).
Our own efforts to be righteous are as filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6).

So, an obvious question is:
 "How then can a man be righteous before God?
 How can one born of a woman be pure?" (Job 25:4).

The Solution: Since God is a holy and just Judge,
He cannot change or lower the standard and remain just (Romans 3:26).
Instead, God provided some one to meet the standard for us
(Isaiah 45:17, 24; Jeremiah 33:15-16; Matthew 3:15).

Jesus is our substitute, our vicar (Vicarious atonement).
God made Him become sin for us and has declared those who receive
Him righteous (Romans 3:21-30; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Gospel is the message of God’s righteousness available to man
by faith in Jesus (Romans 1:16, 17; 3:21-14; 4:1-8; Philippians 3:9).
Like Abraham, we can be declared righteous by God through faith.
This is a Righteousness given and not obtained by works of
the law (Romans 4:4-6; 5:6-11; 17:21; Galatians 2:15, 16; 3:6-14).

Having been declared righteous, we are to live a righteous life,
living consistent with who we are (Ephesians 4:1,2; I Peter 1:13-16).

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Encouraging Yourself in the Lord

Encouraging Yourself in the Lord
from 1 Samuel 30:1-6

Discouragement is a ruthless thief. It not only robs us of "full steam
ahead" service for the Lord, it also decreases the spiritual goods and
services others receive from us. Despair is a despot who despoils its

Those faith-filled and faithful souls who press on in the face of fear
and despondency have treasures to share with others. By God's grace,
these God-bolstered bad boys - in the nicest sense of the word - bless
others with booty from life's battles.

When life assaults one's heart and leaves breaches and scars, when
retreat seems the only sensible and survivable option, we need to follow not-yet-king
David's example in 1 Samuel 30:1-6.

"Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the
Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They
had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were
in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but
carried them off and went their way.

"And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with
fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David
and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more
strength to weep. David's two wives also had been taken captive...

"And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him,
because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and
daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (ESV).

How David zapped back at Ziklag - went from cinders to spoils to share - is beyond
inspirational. It is instructional. He models how to move
ahead in the Lord when we would rather just move away.

Charred houses, kidnapped families, despair and near mutiny greet David
when he came home to Ziklag. He had been excused from going to war
alongside the Philistines against Israel. They knew his heart - that he
would turn and fight for his people - God's people (1 Samuel 27-31). A
loyal man.

Relieved at being spared another battle, David and his 600 men returned
to a burnt city and abducted loved ones. What a way to come home!

After intense grieving, David's men considered finding comfort in
stoning him. Note: leadership means wearing a target and leaders often get
too much blame or credit.

David, lonely and discouraged, sought and found comfort and strength in
the LORD. He "strengthened himself in the LORD his God" (vs. 6). Instead of 
digging a hole, he fled to the Holy One. He rediscovered resolve in His redeemer.

Like Nehemiah would later tell of those who "repaired" Jerusalem's torn
down walls, so too David found help, repair for his breached soul. David found
fortification in the Father.

The word "strengthened" is often used militaristically - beefed up
troops. It speaks of being strong, courageous, to fasten to. David
fastened his hope in the LORD and it turned this tale around. Read
Psalms 27:14 and 46; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Isaiah 40 and 35:4.

To what or whom do you turn for encouragement, fortification, help,
soul-repair and mind-mending?

Who is your source of inner strength, resolve, courage (see Joshua 1:6,
7, 9, 18)? Friends are great blessings, but when they edge out God, we
rob ourselves of God's help.

Note: such help that David found comes not from gods of our own making.
We idol-crafters need to turn fully to the LORD God (1 Thessalonians
1:8-10). Ask Israel if their dallying with idols gets proven results?
"Judgment," they say?

To recovering, still-stinging freshly spanked idolaters we read: "For I, the LORD 
your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, Fear not, I am the one who helps
you" (Isaiah 41:13). Is the LORD your God? Take a self-test from Jeremiah 2:5, 11-13;
Joshua 23-24.

Finding gumption in God, David seeks His will, then pursues and
whips the bad guys. The Lord blesses him with full recovery of their
wives, children and stuff. In celebration and as a witness, David sends
out gifts from the goodies, perks from the plunder to several cities.

Had he stayed in his funk, sunk into his bog of despair, the story might have a very
different ending. Yet, he allowed God to gird him up for life and the battles ahead. What
circumstances have you hidden behind? What excuses do you need to confess as sin?

For us to have spoils to share from wars won by God's grace, we must
find solace and strength in the LORD (see Jude 20; 1 Peter 1:3- 2:3; Psalm 37). Who has
enjoyed the benefits of your seeking God? Who has been enriched by your encouragement in
the LORD?

Who has gone without - physically or spiritually - because you cling to
your circumstances and not the God of the universe? Read Matthew 6:25-34 and Jeremiah

What spoils can you share as a testimony of God's greatness? We must
seek strength and comfort from the Lord as if lives depend on it.