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Sunday, January 29, 2012



I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai--'God Almighty'--but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh (ADONAI) LORD, to them. - Exodus 6:3

I crack up when I listen to the smack talk on the basketball courts at my neighborhood park. One particular phrase that often gives me pause though is when a player thinks he’s doing better than the guy who’s guarding him and says, “I own you, man!” In a comical way, he wants the guys he’s playing with to know that he is in control of his part of the game; he is lord over his opponent.

God showed Moses who He was, ADONAI, which refers to God as Lord and owner of all. We all have heard the story of how He delivered His people from the greatest world power of the time. He took dominion over Egypt’s false gods, natural wonders, and human genius and laid them all low under His feet. You might say, “He owned them.”  So, we see God revealed Himself to the patriarchs as The God Who has the power to do what He wants to do - El - Shaddai; yet, to Moses He said, "Call Me, Adonai", The God Who does it. Subtle difference - huge difference! This is the same God in Whom we place our trust and confess as LORD: kurios – koo'-ree-os: he to whom a person or thing belongs (Romans 10:9-10).

Jesus was known as LORD before the cross (John 8:58). He manifested Himself as LORD by taking our sins as His own, dying our death, but then rising again showing His Lordship over sin, death, and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

God the Father has revealed Jesus for Who He is, ADONAI. Just as Moses and the Hebrew slaves could trust Yahweh to use His power to rescue them from their miserable predicament, we can trust Jesus to save us from our slavery to sin; past, present, and future.

Jesus is LORD. Don’t be afraid to trust Him. He will do it!

 (YouTube link at the bottom)

Ancient One so amazing unfailing You are
Holy One overwhelming my heart with Your love

Yahweh Yahweh
Faithful God You're here to stay
Yahweh Yahweh
Forever and always the same

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quiet Time: Side By Side: the Way and the world

Wheat n tares
Linwood Berry
Side By Side: the Way and the world
Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” – Matthew 13:30

I love the parables of Jesus. But when I see the deeper meaning, especially when He explains it straight up like He does for the story of the wheat and tares, I shutter at the fact.

For example, a few things I understand from this one illustration is that just because you’re growing doesn’t mean you’re wheat. Both wheat and tares, those who accept and those who reject Jesus, are growing, and they’re growing side by side, as if they have everything in common; that is, until the wheat begins to mature. That’s when the differences become evident. Wheat produces fruit but tares produce nothing but fuel for the fire.

We are faced with a choice: choose Jesus or choose the evil one; there is no middle ground. It is a black and white; right or wrong decision. Furthermore, Jesus reminds us that true disciples-those who follow the kingdom message-must be prepared to pay the ultimate price for doing so (Matthew 13:20-22, 44-46).

Jesus will return to gather up His followers; the wheat. This is a sobering thought. I don’t know who the tares are around me, but I know that I don’t want anyone to be cast into the fire. I pray that God will bring those around me to Jesus real soon and that the fruit He produces in me will remind them of who He’s called them to be.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quiet Time: Power Over People: Joseph In Charge

Power Over People: Joseph in Charge

The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. – Genesis 40:4

Quick Look:

• Joseph ran the prison for the captain because God “gave him favor” with the guard and he was good at it (Genesis 39:21-23).
• Joseph was placed in a position of authority over the king’s chief baker and cupbearer.
• Joseph used his favor and authority to serve.

Ponder Points:

• Joseph didn’t seek to be elevated; God lifted him up (1 Chronicles 29:12).
• Joseph didn’t dwell on the past or worry about the future but rested in the Lord (Psalm 37:6-8).
• Joseph walked right in a really wrong world (sold as a slave, slandered by a mistress, and forgotten in a rotten prison)

• How can I use my opportunities to serve rather than be served?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quiet Time: Walk Away

Walk Away

Read: Matthew 9:14-17

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”
– Matthew 9:16

We must turn our back on our past if we are to follow Christ; He isn’t interested in anything we left behind.

I know men who want to be considered moral and forthright by their peers without actually living honorable sincere lives. One guy  I know actually sells (legal) pornographic videos from his home and then complains about his grand-kids being perverted good for nothings who get viruses on his computers from the illicit websites they visit. Well, duh!

Now, I’m not poking at anybody here. I know I’m no better than the worst sinner out there. I got saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) just like everyone else who believes in Jesus. However, if we came to Christ from a past of doing everything our own way, for our own good, and in our own good time; those days are over. If we were drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, swindlers, and cheats; those days are gone. If we were hyper religious, followers of traditional form and function but without a true love for God or people through the indwelling Christ we were hypocrites; those days are done too. My dad used to say, “Don’t get religion; get a relationship.” Anybody, good, bad, or indifferent, can be religious, but only a man or woman who loves Jesus can have a relationship.

Jesus had to set some of the hyper religious people straight. Matthew, a tax collector, was just called by Jesus to be one of His closest friends. Back then, tax collectors were hated by the Hebrews as traitors and slum lords. But, Matthew walked away from tax collecting and everything in his past to follow Jesus. Apparently that wasn't good enough for the religious nuts surrounding him at the banquet he gave in Jesus honor. To make matters worse, Matt invited several of his buddies to the feast. Not your typical party crowd of dignitaries mind you, most of his friends were from the red light district. But, I guess Matthew figured, if Jesus could change him, he could change anybody...and Jesus did...and still does. But, Jesus didn't want religious followers. Jesus wanted and still wants, a relationship. A living breathing, let Me into your heart forever covenant.

The fact is: No one gets married in order to act single; that’s silly…no, that's stupid. We turn our back on our singleness, our past, in order to begin a new life with our new love.

So, if we’ve truly begun a walk, journey, relationship with Jesus, perhaps we should ask ourselves one question, “Do I love Him?” If our answer is, “Yes”, then our next question is simple, “How do I please Him?”

We can’t please Jesus without leaving our past behind. A double minded man is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:8) and we can't leave our past behind without sacrifice. I think that's what Jesus meant when He said, "Take up your cross daily and follow Me" (Luke 9:23)

Walk away; flat out, firmly, finally.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quiet Time: A New Point of View

A New Point of View

Read: Luke 6:27-36

"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. – Luke 6: 35-36

I like punching people who punch me. It’s true, I do.

As a matter of fact, as a teen I found out that if I punched back straight and hard I usually stopped getting punched. Not very Christian, but effective.

I grew up in a pretty tough part of town where meekness was considered weakness. More often than not weaknesses were exploited to the “bad boys” personal advantage. I guess that’s why every time I read Jesus’ words in Luke I have unpleasant flashbacks.

In my neighborhood, turning the other cheek often meant that you got punched twice. Letting someone take your coat without a fight simply marked you as a push over and you’d probably lose your shirt too; whether you wanted to give it, or not. Doing good to a boy who hated you was considered just plain stupid. So, how does this play out in the real world? How do I take this word and walk in it?

Frankly, I’m probably the last guy who should be talking about this stuff. I still get angry with people who get angry with me, I still have to work through grudges that I hold against my enemies, and I still can’t seem to see bad people without wishing terrible things would happen to them. But, I do know that God is giving me a new way of looking at things that tends to make me do what I never thought I could.

But, before I get into how God is dealing with my need for speed in retaliation, I wonder how you deal with this passage of scripture? What’s your angle? Where are you at in your walk with Christ?

In other words, what’s your point of view?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Quiet Time: SURPRISE!

Wakartu Cory Surprise
Kurtal Jiwari 2009
Read: Ephesians 1:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
- Ephesians 1:3

I never know what to expect on Sunday mornings.

Anything can happen; a faulty eletrical system can turn a full powered musical selection into an impromptu a-cappella session (without instrumental accompaniment). Or, like today, an accomplished five member worship team can become a dynamic Spirit filled trio. However, past experience has taught me to expect great things from God when preconceived plans are unexpectedly sidelined. And, let me tell you, today was no exception.

Somehow, before the first down beat, I just knew that this was going to be a terrific time together. Even our morning sound check flowed over the banks. Our little trio paused after the last run-through and the team flashed furtive glances at each other that seemed to say, “Did you feel that?”

Then, when the congregation got their chance to participate, I almost stopped singing just to listen to them. I love to hear God’s people worship! I wish you coud've been there!

Finally, Dr. Stahl taught on expecting a blessing, and as if to place an exclamation point on the topic, three people asked Jesus into their heart by the end of the worship service. NOW THAT IS A BLESSING!

So, no, I never know what to expect on Sunday mornings, but one thing’s for sure, I know to expect a blessing!