Freedom is a Chosen Responsibility

As we draw closer to the celebration of Independence Day, our thoughts become more patriotic and our thoughts turn towards concepts of freedom. Truly, one of the great blessings upon the United States of America is our freedom. Throughout our history our freedom has been fought for, bled for and died for. The price to gain and maintain freedom is immeasurable;?

The idea of freedom is not original to humans, no matter how deeply we value or long for it. Freedom originated in the mind of God; being made in His image gives us an intrinsic yearning to live in freedom. This deep and unending desire is fueled by heaven against the tyrannies on earth.

As the History of United States and even the world, has taught us, freedom must be cared for, honored, and valued. This is more than a written code, freedom is a sacred trust. When a person or a nation has embraced freedom, then the responsibility of freedom is also chosen.

The responsibility of freedom is a point that seems to have faded in the current cultural and social shifts. In both the church and society at large freedom is seen as simply doing what seems or feels right or good. Our moral and ethical view is centering on what man calls good, right, fair and gratifying; the eternal standards of God are considered false and harmful. To be truly able to embrace freedom a person and a nation must take responsibility for a standard of what is right that is not rooted in the culture. The standard to which should be held is rooted in eternity and established by the God who has no beginning or end.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:13-14 NKJV

Please, live in freedom. The true freedom, as one who takes in not only freedom, but also all the responsibility of doing so.

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Is Angry All We Got?

Because I was bored I thought perusing FaceBook would fill some time. All this activity filled was my heart with sadness. Not sadness over the falseness of humanity or the latest natural disaster. It was sadness over the ongoing threads of anger, derision and disregard for fellow human beings; all by those who claim to love the One who created those human beings.

I’m sure many who read this will think I am soft on sin, leaning left politically and mired in the mud of social decline. For those who hold such thoughts, think again. I still stand for the flag, pray for the president, love my freedom and those who defend it and hit my knees in wonder before a holy and perfect God.

Sin, the falling short of God’s perfect standard, is destroying so many and weakening our country greatly. The agendas of so many special interest groups and lack of direction in leaders is a recipe for confusion and possible decline. And the ever increasing hunger for power without responsibility is putting us on thin ice.

So I ask you; is anger all we got?

I get it, I’m guilty far too often, but I’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do better. This is not some random feel good idea. Is anger all we, the blood bought sons and daughters of the living God, have to offer? If all I saw of the “Christian” life was the arrogant, harsh and condemning vitriol so broadly dumped in social media I’d run for the hills.

Jesus hated sin, because the Father hated sin. In fact, Jesus was the Father’s solution for sin; “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) Jesus came motivated by love for His Father; that those His Father loved would be set free from sin. He did this in such a way that those who needed that love the most actually rejected Him with hate. But those who did not on any level think they had anything coming from God other than rejection were most drawn to Him and welcomed.

We are not called to be judge, jury and destroyers of those who aren’t like us. Nor are we called to be creators of standards; Jesus already bears that status. Jesus’ people are to emulate Him, represent the Father under the same purposes first released in Him. “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.’ “(John 20:21) Is anger all we got?

Think about it, pray about it-e have more, so much more. We have Jesus. He Beats the daylights out of anger. Now that’s worth posting about.

Another Sunday

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21

Another Sunday morning, a day to gather with fellow followers of Christ; to worship, to pray, to fellowship, to share in communion. Or that day of the week when our faces are hidden behind masks, our words sound right but are not honest, our brokenness shoved under beautiful carpets of false presentation. The music will play, the prayers will be prayed, the Bible will be read, communion might or might not be shared; will we actually notice one another, touch one another, love one another.

May the Lord open our eyes to see our fellow believers and that we might be honest with them, honest with ourselves, in the gathering. May we begin seeing the value of others, not as cogs in the religious machine, but as fellow citizens of a country beyond this world. When we gather can we begin to expect the Spirit of God to work in us and through us for the Body to become a greater demonstration of God’s grace, through us, into our homes, cities and world?

Maybe this Sunday, or a Sunday soon (or whenever you gather with believers)be the one that we shift from religious duty to real relationships for the sake of the Kingdom. Christ died and with His blood purchased a church that He could express Himself through and make Himself known in the earth. He prayed in John 17 for that church, that body, to be known by unity – that doesn’t come from hiding ourselves from one another.

Another Sunday….

Design Without Purpose = ?

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen. 1:26-27 (MEV)

As neither a theologian nor a sociologist, I present a view of our current cultural confusions that is simply informed by my reading of scripture, listening for the whisper of the Holy Spirit, and paying attention to what is happening. My view is this: when humans can see our design but having lost any clue for the purpose for the design we end up with complete confusion.

We are living in a society that is experiencing one unfounded and outlandish idea of human behavior after another having unbelievable influence. We now ignore design and do not trust the Designer, instead we allow children to self identify as male and female based on something as feeble as a “feeling”. The sexual preference ideas have moved us and continues to move us into frighteningly darker realms. Religious, racial, and class based conflicts arise with more and more acrimonious rhetoric. All in the name of being able to assign purpose for the design.

This confusing mass of activity and spent energy is not leading us towards clarity, but into deeper confusion. The deeper the confusion, the deeper the desperation for clarity which opens us to the suggestion of whatever ideas that make us feel better. What is frightening is the depth of falsehood we will buy into just to feel better. One of the most diabolically deceptions is that of “personal” truth. You know, that crazy idea that I can have my truth and you can have your truth. No personal truths are allowed to be disregarded in the process of you developing your own and REAL truth is of no value.

Human being were not created for confusion, we were created for clarity. Yes, our current struggles reflect lack of clarity. But rejoice and be glad, this is one of the great realities of salvation through Christ. “For the Son of Msn has come to seek and save what is lost.” (Luke 19:10) Christ restores our clarity, He returns to us our ability to walk in the purpose of our design.

Without such clarity we end up as…..

Still Trying to Have Enough

Contentment – the condition or state of being satisfied.

When was the last time you felt satisfied, just simply content in your life? Maybe it was just a moment ago. Maybe you don’t remember the last time you were aware of being content.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1Timothy 6:6-8

Paul, writing to his spiritual son, gives Timothy a fantastic insight into life, one that is has value today. When was the last time you were simply satisfied with having food on your table and some clothes in your closet? In a time when western culture has come to believe free wi-if is a basic human right it might have been a while.

My general observation is that we have so much, but no sense of when we have enough. Between advertising that feeds us the idea that it takes products and money to be happy, combined with increasing spiritual shallowness, contentment seems beyond the horizon. So we fill our homes and our lives with the things that continually fail to keep the promise of fulfillment.

All true contentment starts in a relationship with Jesus Christ. From the moment of humanity’s creation, we were designed and purposed for the glory of God. When we gave away that purpose we gave away the foundation of contentment. A part of Christ’s work in our lives is the restoration of our ability to be content, by restoring us to the purpose of our design.

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

The very lie that deceived Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) was that there was more satisfaction than God was letting on. The minute they bought the lie man took on the goal of satisfying himself. We have certainly accomplished a great deal, yet contentment remains elusive.

I encourage you, I plead with you eat the Bread of Life – let Jesus satisfy. We cannot enter into any real, concrete and sustainable contentment apart from Christ. However hard we work, no matter what we achieve, regardless of how full our toy boxes become, apart from Him our need remains.

Turn Off, Tune In

This is going to be blunt, broad and for some-unkind.

GET OFF YOUR PHONE! Turn off your ANTI-social media. Live in the present, the now, the real; stop living the lie you present or trying to live up to the lie others present. And for crying out loud, stop trying to convince me and yourself of some innate value added garbage that makes us all feel better.

When was the last time you studied the eyes, the face, the vocal inflections, cadence and tone of delivery from a person you are conversing with? You have to be in the real, the now, the physical space shared by another human for such study to occur. That study is what allows you to interpret, understand and connect with another human being. Such observations inform you as to the possible and appropriate responses to both what is being said and how it is being said.

Jesus Christ’s earthy life was marked by a complete awareness of the “now” and the lives also present in the “now”. The blind, the lame, the local whore and the ruling class all were known and acknowledged as being part of the “now”. And all that was happening in the “now” was a set-up to help people see beyond the “now” and into the “next”. The past becomes unchangeable history, the now is a momentary and liquid reality that will soon become next. Imagine how fun this would be over a cup of coffee-in real time with a real person.

Live in the now, the real, the today…

“Today, if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:15)

Turn off, tune in!

Let God Feed

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 (ESV)

If your life were some type of steerable vehicle, who is driving? Most people I know would quickly respond, “I am trusting the Lord to lead my life.” And I would be amiss if I did not say I have no reason to not believe that they believe that. But there lies the challenge we all face; is what we believe that we believe from the truth of God’s word or our comfortably held opinions about God?

We feed ourselves spiritually in a manner similar to how we feed ourselves physically-we eat what we enjoy. But not everything the Lord wants to teach us is going to initially seem sweet and tasty. In fact, much of it seems down right hard to swallow. Yet, if those things that are not easy to encounter lead us to lean more into the steadfastness of Christ, ask for seconds.

The truths that God feeds will direct us to the love of God and that will deepen our awareness of the steadfast strength of Christ. You and I will have to accept one basic and unchanging reality, our comfort is not high on the list of goals. But our joy and delight in the Lord is. Psalm 30:5 tells us, “For his Psalm 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”