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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The Responsibility Of Each Christian

Hi,again!

Even after Christians are initially called and receive the Holy Spirit, it will take some time to FULLY grasp the NEED for us to want God and Jesus to COMPLETELY CONTROL us (as far as is possible while we are in this human form), and not merely influence us in a religious sort of way. For some of us, this can take a long time. Our goal even is to bring EVERY thought into the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

God’s purpose for calling us is not just limited to having Christians be a ‘light’ in a dark world, but rather, the HIGHER purpose of having us being so COMPLETELY CONSUMED by His and Christ Jesus’ presence in us we are literally not our own anymore. Up to a point, Paul reached this stage as written in Galatians 2:20.

The problem is that some of us are satisfied with just the daily struggle of trying to be ‘good little girls and boys’ in a religious fashion; and too often, even this is motivated only by either (1) wanting to get ‘good stuff’ and blessings from our Father and Jesus (2) trying to merely ‘hang on’ until the Resurrection or (3) wanting to avoid Their wrath if we mess up. These attitudes can certainly lead to being “lukewarm” Christians and Revelation 3:16,17 clearly shows Their view on a “lukewarm” faith. A good article defining a lukewarm Christian is at http://chrismarlow.me/2008/06/are-you-a-lukewarm-christian/ .

Paul shows in 2 Timothy 1:6 that it is up to us to “stir up” or “rekindle” the “gift” that we have as Christians, if it becomes necessary. Other verses in the New Testament also clearly show that it is the individual Christian’s responsibility to develop an attitude in one’s heart to either “hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), become “lukewarm” in our faith (Revelation 3:16) or ultimately become like Demas who continued to “love this eon” (2 Timothy 4:10).

The Holy Spirit can urge as well as lead us but He will NEVER push, force or drag us.

All the best in Him,

Fred

Sanctify Your Food

Hi, there….thought I would pass along to you a little ‘food’ for thought this morning!

I came across a very interesting and beneficial truth this morning while reading 1 Timothy 4:5. I always give thanks at meals just as Jesus did in Matthew 14:19 (and I try not to make it just a ‘ritual’ but really express it from the heart). Going a step further, Paul tells us in verse 5 our food is actually “sanctified” when we “petition” before eating it.

This word “petition” is a different word from the normal Greek word for ‘prayer’ and is used only twice in the New Testament, both in Timothy (the other is 2:1). Its definition is similar to that of ‘prayer’ but it also seems to imply a special request. This is just my opinion but I would take it to mean something like asking that the food be ‘blessed’, in addition to giving thanks for it.

The ‘sanctification’ of the food after making the ‘petition’ is defined by Strong’s Concordance as:

“consecrate things to God”

“to purify”

“to cleanse externally”

So, along with my normal giving of thanks at meals I will be asking God and Christ Jesus to bless it as well.

Until later,

Fred

 

 

Modern Young’s Literal Translation

Hi, there! By far, as best as I can determine, the most accurate translations of the Bible available are the Concordant Literal Translation, Rotherham’s Emphasized and Young’s Literal Translation versions (all three are available free at http://www.studybible.info ).

However, all of them can make for ‘stiff’ reading either because of their attempts to be so accurate or , as in the case of Rotherham’s and Young’s, they are written in ‘ole English’ fashion.

There is now a version available called MODERN YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION which is very ‘readable’  while maintaining excellent accuracy. It is free online at http://www.ao-soft.com/mylt/index.htm and the New Testament version can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com.

Until later.

Fred

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

God Has Your Back….Sorta!

Greetings!

In Old Testament times, if Israel obeyed God, He would “have their back” and no other nation could whup-up on them, physically.

In New Testament times, believers CANNOT expect this sort of physical protection. God the Father and Christ Jesus allow their saints (please reference “Who Is A Saint”) to be physically (and mentally) mistreated, and for good reasons of course. Jesus is the supreme example of this, as is Paul, along with others.

SPIRITUALLY…our backs are ALWAYS covered, as summarized in 2 Thessalonians 3:3: “Yet faithful is the Lord, Who will be establishing you and guarding you from the wicked one” (Concordant Literal New Testament).

We also “have our backs covered” in the sense that we are guaranteed that nothing, no NOTHING, we suffer will go to waste or be for no reason. All, EVERY SINGLE SECOND of pain and sorrow, will eventually be used for our good and to our glory (Romans 8:28), whether now or in the future. GOD WASTES NOTHING!!

Also, They will not only enable us to withstand the afflictions, but actually receive them with joy (supernaturally, if you will)!

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” (NIV), 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.

See you later.

Fred