Business As Usual

Hey there!

Paul said  he was a “slave” (Concordant Literal NT) of Christ Jesus in Romans 1:1 and all those who are called to be Christians are likewise referred to as “slaves” throughout the New Testament. This is the actual meaning of the Greek word ‘doulos’ according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

In all of history, I am quite sure there have NEVER been any ‘part-time slaves’. A slave is at the beck and call of her or his owner 24/7.

We, then, are to ALWAYS be constantly, consistently and ever presenting ourselves to God and Christ Jesus as our Owners. We may not have any particular task or duty to perform at any given moment, but nonetheless, we present ourselves to Them….24/7.

Even here, we are to be seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and to be “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)….24/7.

Before we were called to be saints, all kinds of activities and concerns were on our ‘to-do list’. We were swamped in dealing with the issues of life and they demanded our undivided attention. Some that got our attention were justified but many were not. We were quite literally ‘slaves’ not only to dealing with these activities and concerns but also to the “law of sin” within our very nature (Romans 7:23-24)….they owned us.

However, there are now new Owners in town!! Our new Owners demand the same UNDIVIDED attention but what a glorious and wonderful change They bring. They can and will enable us to “have life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There are still those justified activities and concerns we must perform and attend to daily but they are dealt with in a different way. And, they don’t own or control us as before because ALL that we do we deal with  through God and Jesus. Even the “law of sin” within “the body of death” we  now occupy will submit to and be ruled by our new Owners (Romans 7:25, 8:1-3).

Now, this life changing assistance and help throughout each day that we are able to receive from our new Owners does not come by merely having Them in our thoughts during the day. Nor does regimented Bible study, regular church attendance, ‘mechanical prayer’ or any other religious activities, however well meant.

Our Father and our Savior want us to “come to” Them (Matthew 11:28) and “draw near” to Them (James 4:8) and the religious activities mentioned in the previous paragraph do NOT cut the mustard!

At this point,, I always wind up bringing forth the example of Brother Lawrence. He showed us how to “come to” and “draw near” to God and Jesus by actually talking to, beseeching and living for Them moment by moment during the entire day. He did this even during his  most hurried of times. He wrote how it was difficult to do this at first, but after a while, it became second nature to him and he could not imagine living his life any other way.

You can read his entire book free online as set forth in the Category “Practicing The Presence Of God” and you will be amazed and inspired by the SUPERNATURAL relationship he was able to develop with his Owners.

Personally, my moment by moment prayer to Them is “help me Lord” (in whatever I am doing, thinking or saying at the moment) or just “Lord God”….and frequently punctuated with “thank you Father” or “thank you Jesus”. And, at other times, I just freely express myself to Them. The change and results I have experienced are indescribable.

So, let us, with all our being, endeavor not to be like those in Matthew 13:22 and to never go back to ‘business as usual’, as it was before God and Christ Jesus so graciously called us to undeservingly be saints.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

 

 

 

 

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Come Unto Me And I Will Give You Rest

Greetings!

This wonderful truth in Matthew 11:28 does NOT describe some cheap and easy benefit bestowed on a Christian from the git-go.

Believing, in itself, enables us to become God’s chosen saints and gain access to Him and Christ Jesus but it does NOT automatically afford the very real, Holy ” rest”spoken of in this verse….in fact, even demons can believe (James 2:19).

Having nice thoughts about God and Jesus, carrying out Christian functions such as good works, church attendance, Bible study, ritualistic prayer, etc., etc. likewise will NOT serve as a means to gain this blessed “rest” that defies human understanding….although, they can certainly serve to help us if done in the proper way.

The key to understanding how this supernatural “rest” can be ours is clearly revealed in the phrase “come unto Me” in verse 28. We can do ALL the endeavors mentioned above and still NOT “come unto” our Lord.  In other words, the above activities can all be done in an entirely religious manner without us ever reaching Jesus personally, and it is only here, that we actually experience our promised “rest”.

Thankfully, the solution to our problem is shown in James 4:8: “come close to God, and He will come close to you“. The way we “come close”  (or “come unto“)  our Father and Jesus is to  continuously (minute by minute and hour by hour) go to Them in ALL our daily activities, much in the manner described in the Category/Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”. I hope you will take the time to read this Category  about Brother Lawrence as well as the Categories/Posts on “Letters From A Modern Mystic” and “Why Not Be A Mystic”.

Until later, in Him,

Fred

 

Led By God’s Spirit

Hi, there!

What if you had a ‘friend’, a ‘buddy’, who was tagging along with you 24/7 and this ‘friend’ had the uncanny (if not miraculous)  ability of NEVER  BEING WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING!

This ‘friend’ would always be there to guide you in making the right and perfect decision with EVERY endeavor you would ever undertake  and in EVERY circumstance that you could possibly encounter.

But wait a second, that’s not all. Our ‘friend’ would not only do all of this but actually give us the POWER to carry out all of these right and perfect decisions!

Whoa….with a ‘friend’ like this, would you not be the most fortunate and blessed person on this planet!

This ‘friend’ is, of course, is the Holy Spirit which will lead us because we are the sons and daughters of  God….Romans 8:14. The Holy Spirit never, ever makes a mistake with its guidance and its POWER is clearly revealed in the Scriptures as brought out in the Category “Feel The POWER!!.

But, here is the problem: we don’t fully and truly believe (have the faith) that the Holy Spirit can actually do all of this because God and Christ Jesus are not as real to us as They can be and should be. However, to overcome this obstacle and barrier, it is simply a matter of drawing closer to Them, and in turn, They will draw closer to us as indicated in James 4:8. Please reference the Category “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me” for further discussion on this.

As well, the most effective and easiest way to “draw near” to God and Christ Jesus is to PRACTICE THE PRESENCE OF GOD, as discussed in the Category by the same title.

Our ‘friend’ waits to guide and empower us in EVERY aspect of our lives and to do even MORE …. it will also enable us to experience and enjoy its WONDERFUL FRUIT  (Galatians 5:22).

How truly blessed we are above ALL humans to have been called by God because of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

We Have The Mind Of Christ

Greetings!

1 Corinthians 2:16 does not say we ‘might’ have the mind of Christ nor does it say we ‘can’ have His mind. It is very definite in saying we , as believers, “have” the mind of Christ Jesus.

Think about that for a moment. The One Who created everything that ever came into existence (John 1:3) with an intelligence defying human imagination and understanding, God has graciously granted us, through no merit of our own, the presence of His mind within us! Of course, this applies more importantly to Spiritual realities, as well.

Staggering to say the least.

There is a catch, though. Like everything else that is ours because of Jesus’ sacrifice, except for our actual calling as believers, the realization and benefit  requires us to to go to and draw near to God and Jesus (James 4:8). (Please reference the Post “Why Isn’t God More Real To Me”)

As written by Andrew Murray in his  book ABSOLUTE SURRENDER, “The condition for obtaining God’s full blessing is absolute surrender to Him.”. (please reference the Post “Absolute Surrender”)

Being ‘lukewarm’ will never cut it with God and Christ Jesus as illustrated in Revelation 3:16: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” (New American Standard). There is a good article about being ‘lukewarm’ by Francis Chan at http://www.iwilltrustinyou.org/post/3952064952/are-you-a-lukewarm-christian-by-francis-chan .

The super-wonderful experience of enjoying the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), the “mind of Christ”, real “righteousness” (Matthew 5:6) and infinite other blessings from God and Christ Jesus await those believers who ‘hotly’ pursue all that which is of Them:

we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The “mind of Christ” will become more evident within us the more we “HUNGER” and “THIRST after “righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)….and not just ‘mildly’ want and ‘mildly’ pursue that which is of our Father and Christ Jesus.

Until later,

Fred

Supernatural Joy

Greetings!

First off, from time to time I add ‘tidbits’ to the Post “Christian Tidbits”. Recently, I added Number 15, which follows:

“It is estimated that the number of living species on our planet ranges from 3 million to 100 million. Consider the fact that God through Christ Jesus had to DESIGN and create an INDIVIDUAL and UNIQUE ‘behavioral computer chip’ for EACH species!! They ALL function differently and obviously need their own distinct behavioral pattern programmed into their personal being in order to live and survive, based on the way each is created. Simply amazing!!”

Now, today’s Post is an excerpt from the one I wrote back in September entitled “God Has Your Back….Sorta!”. I am using this as a separate Post because the event described here from Acts 16:19-25 comes to my mind frequently and serves both as great encouragement as well as a reminder of just how far beyond human comprehension God’s ways are.

By making it a Post of its own, I hope that more of you will more readily see it and benefit from it as I have and do. Here goes:

In addition to such verses as James 1:2 and Colossians 1:11, consider the example of Paul and Silas at Philippi (Acts 16:19-25). They were “severely flogged” , put in the “inner cell” (which was probably the nastiest) and their feet put in stocks. And, they had to have been EXTREMELY SORE and still bloodied (v. 33). YET, at around midnight THEY SANG HYMNS TO GOD! WHOA!!….either they had to have been on some heavy drugs or funny mushrooms….OR, they were OVERJOYED that they had suffered for Christ’s sake. The Holy Spirit enables us to act and react this way.” (End of excerpt)

The ability for us to experience this ‘supernatural joy’ which goes beyond human understanding  is further illustrated in 2 Corinthians 6:10. Here, Paul says that he experiences being humanly “sorrowful”, and yet AT THE SAME TIME, he was “always rejoicing”! (New American Standard).

He ventures further to say in 2 Corinthians 7:4: “I am SUPEREXCEEDING IN JOY (emphasis mine) in all our affliction”! (Concordant Literal NT) WOW!! Now, this is truly ‘supernatural joy’!

UPDATE: The following is from an excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” and all of his entries can be obtained for FREE by going to the Category by the same name as the title of his book. Emphasis will be mine throughout:

” The underlying foundation of the Christian faith is the undeserved, LIMITLESS miracle of the love of God that was exhibited on the Cross of Calvary; a love that is not earned and can never be. Paul said this is the reason that “in ALL these things we are more than conquerors.” We are SUPER-VICTORS  with a JOY that comes from experiencing the very things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.

Why Isn’t God More Real To Me?

Hi, there!

Let’s face it, to many, if not most, Christians God and Christ Jesus are not all that ‘real’ to us in a truly personal sense. Real, in that we actually ‘feel’ Their presence with us continually throughout the day (as Brother Lawrence did as illustrated in the book “Practicing the Presence of God”….please reference the Post by this title.). Real, in that we know Them so personally as to be continually and constantly looking at everything we encounter daily through Them. Real, in that we continually ask Them throughout the day as to what to say, what to do and how to handle situations we encounter during that day.

In the last Post “God And Christ Jesus Are In Us ALL THE TIME!!!”, Scriptures clearly show that the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are within us. So, we “know”, then, that we have a reservoir of Holy Presence in us that defies human imagination! However, how much do we “realize” this Holy Presence as true reality? (Please reference the Post on “Knowledge vs Realization”). Paul knew that there was a difference between the two when he wrote in Ephesians 1:17-20 (Concordant Literal New Testament) that he prayed for  all saints to come to a “realization” (vs. mere “knowledge”) of what we have as believers because of the power of God and sacrifice of our Lord Christ Jesus.

The Bible shows quite clearly how we achieve this “realization” and thus be able to depend on and experience the Father and Christ Jesus in a personal way daily. It is revealed in James 4:8: “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”. That’s it….pure and simple! Let’s explore this a little further.

Regimented Bible study, ‘mechanical’ prayer and attending church, although beneficial to some degree, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” (Please see the Post on “Bible Study Is Good…IF…BUT”).

Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, was highly proficient in performing the 3 above noted practices. In addition to this, as to observing the Law in a physical sense, Saul was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6), which was quite an achievement in a ‘religious’, human sort of way. And yet, in spite of all this, Saul would become the “foremost” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:16) and the chief persecutor of God’s saints!! So, obviously, these 3 ‘religious’ practices BY THEMSELVES  will not do the trick in getting us closer to the Father or our Lord in a PERSONAL way.

Believing,in itself, DOES NOT qualify as “drawing near to God” either….even the devils believe! (James 2:19)

What DOES qualify as “drawing near to God” is “practicing the presence of God” (Please see the Posts “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Letters By A Modern Mystic”). It means to start looking to God and Christ Jesus MORE and MORE in our thoughts and needs. Continually, as best we can at first, conversing with Them (Please reference the Post “Pray On The Potty”) and keeping Them before us at ALL times throughout the day….not only hourly, but eventually minute by minute, as is practical. In this way, we are “going to God” or, if you will, “drawing near to God”….and, in turn, God (and Jesus) will draw closer to us, as a reality.

Oswald Chambers wrote in  MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST (please reference the Post by the same name) that ” ‘Why does God not reveal Himself to me?’ It is not that He will not, it is that He cannot, because you are in the road as long as you won’t abandon absolutely to Him.”

At first, it will be difficult to focus on and go to God and Jesus with such ABANDONMENT because it will be going against our human nature and the ‘flesh’, which opposes the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17). Ridding our minds of useless and frivolous thoughts to focus on God and Christ Jesus MAY ACTUALLY SEEM AS IF WE ARE GOING AGAINST WHAT IS NATURAL….because we have so constantly entertained these vain thoughts for so long as part of our normal lives (Galatians 4:17,23). Even Brother Lawrence admitted it was difficult for him at first to LEARN how to FULLY focus on the Father and Christ Jesus in his waking moments.

However, he went on to say “we must at first apply to Him with some diligence. Then, after a little care, we would find His love inwardly excite us to it without any difficulty.”. (Again, please reference the Post “Practicing The Presence Of God”.)

And, of course, it takes time. God may need to remove some human barriers within us, and in doing so, it may seem as if we are digressing rather than making progress. However,DON’T give in to this FALSE line of reasoning nor to apparent failure….God and Jesus know our hearts and They will continually work with us as long as we keep trying and are willing to submit to Them.

Please don’t misunderstand me, a believer can have a fulfilling and rewarding Christian journey to varying degrees without achieving this deep, personal relationship with the Father and our Lord….however, I am merely presenting the better and far richer way.

Hope to see you again soon.

Fred

The “Secret” Revealed To Paul

Greetings!

In Ephesians 3:2-3, Paul writes that a “secret”  was personally revealed to him by a “revelation”, and it involved a dispensation or administration concerning “the grace of God” towards the Gentile nations. He also called it the “secret of Christ” in verse 4 and referred to it as the “secret of the evangel” in Ephesians 6:19. This is also confirmed in Romans 16:25-26.

He goes on to say that this “secret” was NOT, and was NEVER made known in past generations….until it was divinely revealed to him (Colossians 1:26-27). Quite simply, the “secret” proclaimed that called believers from the Gentile nations (you and me) were to become “JOINT PARTAKERS” and “FELLOW HEIRS”  with the Israelites, and ON EQUAL FOOTING! In times past, a Gentile could only hope for proselyte status with the Jewish nation, and a far more subordinate role and much less inheritance.

Now, however, there was to be a “joint body” (Body of Christ) whereby the Gentile “nations” enjoyed FULL inheritance status with the Israelites (Ephesians 2:19, 3:5-6).

He continues that this “administration of the secret”, having  been “hid from the ages in God” (verse 9) was also a display of the “many kinds of wisdom of God” to the “principalities and authorities in the heavenly places”….and, was in accord with God’s “purpose of the ages (eons)” (verse 11).

Additionally, those believers from the nations (Gentiles) called under Paul’s “secret administration” did NOT have to observe ANY ELEMENTS of Jewish Law except (1) keep from things sacrificed to idols (2)keep from blood and from things strangled (3)keep from fornication. This can be found in Acts 15:4-20, especially in verses 18-20.

The Jewish believers (Peter, John, James, et al), on the other hand, had been instructed by Jesus Himself to keep ALL the elements of the Law “until all is accomplished”. (Matthew 5:17-18).

Galatians 2:7-9 reveals it was established on Paul’s second visit to Jerusalem that it was agree by all that he had been entrusted with the evangel to the ‘Uncircumcision’ (we Gentile believers) whereas Peter was entrusted with the evangel to the ‘Circumcision’ (the Jewish believers). Paul confirms this in 1 Timothy 2:7, Romans 11:13, 2 Timothy 1:11 and Romans 15:16.

So, even though “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), the writings of Paul are specifically addressed to us as Gentile believers.

Later, in Christ,

Fred