Faith, Observations

Lessons Love Taught Me


 

The old man sat on the swing under the large sycamore tree. It was his little slice of heaven, his place to sit and watch, to see what else nature could teach him. Ancient and strong, the sycamore’s branches stretched far and wide, shading a very large portion of his back yard. Sunlight filtered green and golden through the giant leaves that sheltered all that sat in her shadow. Years ago, he had hung that porch swing on the low, horizontal branch, itself large enough to be a tree trunk for a smaller tree. Just like that old tree, my grandfather was ancient and strong.

Grandpa Perkins had been a woodsman most of his life. Felling timbers for International Paper in Sarepta, Louisiana, he had worked hard all his life. When he had grown too old to be a woodsman, International Paper had him spend the last years of his work life cleaning out the chimney stacks at the mill. That was just as hard, and even more dangerous. There were no real “Safety” regulations back then. Safety meant getting the hell out of the way before a block of ash fell on your head because you jarred it loose cleaning the stacks. He had grown up in a hard world, and learned the ways of the woodlands, and earned his keep off that woodland. Even as an old man, he looked to me to be strong enough to snap two by fours with his hands.

Momma told me to wait until after grandpa had his coffee before I pester him. So, I stood at the back door, looking out the screen, waiting for him to put his cup down, signaling he will be receiving an audience. Grandpa had an old border collie, named “Pup”. That old dog stood guard while Grandpa drank his coffee. When he heard the cup settle down next to the old swing, he would turn and wag his tail at Grandpa, and receive a good scratching between the ears for being a good dog. Pup growled low at most people who came up, but he treated me like I was his best friend.

Momma told me not to go out there and talk Grandpa’s ears off. So, I walked out there quiet as a church mouse, and, after giving Pup a good solid hug, I crawled slowly and quietly in to that old porch swing and just sat there, as silent as a tomb. Grandpa, Pup, and I would sit like that for the longest time. No one moved. There was no talking. The only sound we heard were the sound of cicadas or a slight breeze jostling the leaves on his prize “Cane Pole Garden”, and the chickens clucking in the yard. There was hardly any reason for us to chat. Grandpa was a man of few words, but even if he were a chatterbox, it seemed like it wasn’t necessary for us to have to talk. It felt as if all our talking happened through our hearts.

Eventually, Grandpa would turn his tired blue eyes on me, squeeze my knee, and nod. It was the benediction on a long and silent communion we alone had shared. It was time to do the chores.

His property was small for that part of Louisiana, but a poor woodsman could barely feed his family, let alone have a good stretch of land. What he had, he made the most of. He had a garden, he had chickens, and he had his famous cane poles, growing along the fence line. Grandpa grew the strongest and straightest Bamboo Cane Poles in North Louisiana. People came from far and wide just to try to get one. He had over a hundred poles growing at a time, but very few of them passed his standard of what makes a really good cane pole. What other men would accept as passable, Grandpa threw in the fire for kindling. Our first chore was to cover our mouth and noses with damp cloth and cut down some of the Bamboo Canes. Cane fibers would get in your lungs if you didn’t protect your breathing. Those fibers were like tiny spears that could penetrate your lungs. We had to cover up so we wouldn’t inhale them.

After that, he would choose which ones were worthy of being a Grandpa Perkins Fishing Pole, and have me strip all the tiny branches and buds off the pole. I had no idea I was working hard, all I knew was that me and my Grandpa were doing stuff together. I didn’t care, I was happy as a pig in slop just being around Grandpa. He taught me how to keep a really good cutting blade and a really good chopping blade. You don’t just go up to Bamboo poles and start hacking away at them. There is a way to cut them down. It is an art, and done right, means less hard work, and more poles to dry and season. I was too small to cut the big poles, so Grandpa had me clear the little bamboo from between the big ones. He said they would never grow to be a good pole, so they had to go. It was my job to make them go away. I felt like a real lumber jack cutting down those poles.

Grandpa was a woodsman, and being a lumberjack was mostly what he did. He taught me how to pick the right axe for the job, how to sharpen the axe, and keep it sharp. Out there, in rural Louisiana, there was no going to Home Depot to get a new axe or axe handle. I still have one of his axes. The one with the home made handle. That handle is better built than any I have used from a factory. Trust me; I have broken many axe handles, except that one. Grandpa taught me several lessons on that. If you want it right, do it yourself. Otherwise, you can’t say a word about it. Protect your tools, and they will feed you.

He showed me the different ways of cutting wood, and what type of strike did the most good for the type of tree you are felling and cutting up. He said that a man has to keep good care of his axes and saws because they took care of him. Besides, dull and badly kept blades made for twice as much work for half the pay. I had no idea what that meant at the time; I was just overjoyed to be around him, and him letting me inside his world.

Grandpa was known for being an outstanding fisherman. Louisiana is “Fisherman’s Paradise”, and Grandpa was famous for knowing all the hidey holes where all the good fish were. It was his secret, shared with no one else but me and my big sister, Carol. We would go out while it was still dark. I was little, so Grandpa already had the boat hooked up to his old Ford truck, and warmed up. He sat me in the passenger’s side and I fell back to sleep. The next thing I know, we are at Bodcau Bayou, near Minden, Louisiana. After swearing me to secrecy, we would launch our john-boat out to those hidey holes. Grandpa taught me how to hold a pole and how to “hear” the fish through the line. He showed me how to set bait, how to cut bait, and what to do when I catch a fish. Catching the fish was the fun part. Cleaning it was another. But Grandpa taught me that God gave us fish so we can catch them, eat and enjoy them, and be happy. Grandpa was very happy about fish.

I didn’t set out to learn how to make fishing poles, or cut timber, or catch fish, or sharpen axes and blades. All I wanted to do was hang out with Grandpa because I loved him so much. Learning how he does things was a byproduct of that relationship. He loved me very much, and gave me good things; simply because I thought he was more important than all the fish in Louisiana.

 

Seeking the kingdom of God…and all these things.

 

God brought all this to my remembrance yesterday. I cried happy tears at all those sweet memories. To this day, I still do those thing he did because I loved being with him, and he was a good and gentle teacher. That is the message God is trying to get through our sheepish skulls. Do you love God for all the stuff he will give you, or do you just love God, and want to be with Him? Sandy and I are facing some challenges in our life, right now, and we have been praying our hearts out over them. That is when the lessons my Grandfather taught came to my mind. I never asked Grandpa for anything, I just wanted to be near him and love him.

Am I to the point where that is why I want to be with God, or do I want to be with God because I want stuff from Him? Either way you go, God will be there with you. The difference is, if you hang out with Him simply because you love Him, all the rest of the things you seek will simply happen as a consequence of His love for you. In the meantime, He will help you grow up to be just like His beloved Son, Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who introduced you to God.

Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. Seek Him and His kingdom (Which happens to dwell in you already), and ALL these things will be added to you. You will be just like Jesus then. You might be the only Jesus people meet before they die.

 

Grandpa Perkins, with my Big Sister, 1952

 

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Faith

Trust In The Lord


"He trusted in God; let him deliver him now; if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."—Matthew 27:43.

“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now; if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”—Matthew 27:43.

Proverbs 3:5-6
King James Version (KJV)
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Do I trust in the Lord when the larder is full?
What about when there is no food?
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart.
I will wait patiently for Him.

Do I trust in the Lord while my friends laugh with me and pat my back?
Will I trust in the Lord when I am alone, and no help is in sight?
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart.
I will wait patiently for Him.

Do I trust in the Lord while the lights burn bright?
Will I trust in the Lord when the lights go out?
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart.
I will wait patiently for Him.

Do I trust in the Lord when my bed is right here?
Will I trust in the Lord when there is no place to sleep tonight?
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart.
I will wait patiently for Him.

Jesus had no place to lay His head,
no place to call His home, but He said;
I will trust in the Lord with all my heart.
I will wait patiently for Him.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. – Psalm 28:7

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Faith, Observations

Reckless Abandonment


 

These are the free gifts of God, through Jesus Christ.

These are the free gifts of God, through Jesus Christ.

I rode 12 miles on my bike today. I know, that doesn’t sound like much, especially considering just a decade ago, 30 to 50 miles was my norm. Today, though, 12 miles was perfect for me. One thing bike riding does for me is burn out the extra energy I seem to collect. I am a physical/tactile learner, but I can be easily distracted if I don’t take time to get physical. I hung up my Superman Cape about a decade ago, so bike riding, I feel is the perfect way for me to blow steam. While I am busy working my rotund body, my mind is able to float free, get creative, imagine, explore, think, and sing. (My mind sings loud, when it sings…it comes with its own orchestra, too!) So, while the singing and orchestra was playing gently in the background (I love to take the Old Hymns and arrange them for a Solo singer, with vocal back ground, accompanied by a Knabe Baby Grand Piano, and the London Philharmonic. I KNOW! That’s a lot to put on one bicycle!)

Where was I… OH, singing quietly in the background… riding my bike. OK, so there was my mind, singing, flying high, praising God. My mind started looking at how far I have come since I first set out to ride around Pearland. Baby steps. I reflected on how much has changed in a year, in a decade, in my life. In my younger days, I was an adrenalin junkie. Suddenly, I realized when it began.

THE WELLS FAMILY REUNIONS

(Please wait while the Orchestra changes to nostalgic background music)

When I was little, the Wells Family Reunions were my favorite part of summer. Going to them meant seeing all my cousins, Uncles, Aunts, and my Grandmother Wells (A woman of God if ever there was one.) I haven’t thought about them in decades. Flashes of memory came to me…swimming like a tadpole in the big pool at the Carthage, Texas park. Next to the swimming pool is a large pavilion that can seat a couple of hundred people. We had picnic tables lined up everywhere, and food everywhere. After “Uncle Lindsey” gave his traditional (ONE HOUR LONG) blessing on our gathering, we dove into the food in supreme Southern Baptist Style. Herschel H. Hobbs would have been proud of this “fellowship”. After victuals, the Wells family participated in their favorite sport – GOSSIP. They way this worked is, all the hens sat at one group of tables, and all the men went outside to smoke and tell their balderdash about their triumphs and failures. After a few minutes or so, you had to rotate through the crowds, so you can catch up on any gossip you may have missed, and “share” the gossip you just heard. After a few minutes of this, we kids would decide that there had to be better adventures for us outside. If we dawdled, our momma would swat us on the hiney and tell us to “git!”. And we got.

When I was little, my big brother was the daredevil. So were my cousins, Jackie, Gary and Jeff. I was the observer. I really wanted to participate in their fun, but I was “the Brat”. During one of these reunions, I watched my brother and cousins and sister swinging on the swing set. From my perspective, they were flying high in the air. After flying so high, they jumpped out of their swings. The goal was to see who can fly the farthest. I wanted to do that, too. I would wait my turn, but my brother would say, “Scram, Brat!!”. And he would take the swing out of my hands. That was OK, it’s how brothers are. Things got better when we got older. But back then, I was just a Brat.

My Uncle Dan was my all time favorite Uncle. I loved him with a fierce love. I thought he was the funniest, most interesting person in the world. He was a sailor in WWII, and boy did HE have some stories! He could also tap dance like a fiend. He was able to make me laugh so hard my belly would hurt.

Uncle Dan must have seen me trying to break into the line at the swings. He came out and gave the big kids some money to go get a coke (In the South, in Texas, EVERY carbonated drink on earth is a coke, OK?). When they left, he asked me, “Wanna Swing?” I nodded my head yes. He picked me up and put me in the swing. He pushed me hard and I went higher than I had ever gone before. I laughed and screamed at the thrill of flying so high. He shouted, “Wanna fly like them (My cousins)?” I laughed “YES!”, and boy, did he push me really high. It scared hell out of me. I dug my feet into the ground on the down swing and hopped off. He asked me if I was scared? I told him I had never been that high before and it scared me. He told me, “Well, if you really want to fly, you have to try, and I promise to be there if you fall, OK, sport?” I said, “OK!”, and shook his hand. In those days, in the South, when a man shook your hand over a promise you made, it means that he believes you will keep that promise, and it means you absolutely keep that promise. A hand shake meant more to a man back then than it does today.

I got on my swing and screwed up all the nerve I could muster. Uncle Dan told me that, when he was on a boat in “The War, in the Pacific”, the air planes were shot right off the deck of the ship with a giant sling shot full of steam. Then he said, “Pretend you are flying that airplane, and I am the sling shot.” “Ready…Set…GO!”, And he pushed really hard, and made the sound of steam blowing out. He pushed me harder than I have ever been pushed before. And I was FLYING!

The exhilaration was magnificent. I couldn’t get enough. Uncle Dan must have pushed me forever, but he never grew tired. Eventually, I grew quiet. He asked me if I am still having fun. Uncle Dan was always about having as much fun as a person could have. He stopped the swing, and came around front. He asked me what I wanted to do now. I told him I want to jump from the swing, too, like the big kids. He looked me in the eye and said, “Well, a boy has got to earn his paratroopers badge.” He told me how to time my swing and jump, and how to fly my arms while I am air born, and how to land with my knees partially bent, and how to roll when I land. We pretended a few jumps, after which, he said, “Boy, I think you are ready to earn your wings.”

I was excited and scared, all at the same time. He reminded me, “Now lookie here; If you fall, I will catch you. OK?!?” I nodded my head. He counted down and pushed and made the steam blowing noise, and I was flying again. He said, “When I say GO, you bail out, cause the Japs have shot your plane full of holes! (I had no idea who the Japs were, but I trusted Uncle Dan.) He pushed me harder and harder, each time. I had NEVER been this high EVER, and I was beyond scared. Uncle Dan shouted, “GO!, GO!, GO!” and…

I ejected from my plane, flack filling the air as the Zeros buzzed past, firing their 30mm machine guns at me.

Then the reality hit me. I wasn’t over the Pacific, I was flailing upside down in mid-air in Carthage, Texas. I closed my eyes, put my arms over my head, and hoped for the best. I felt sick to my stomach as I fell, knowing I was going to hit the ground really hard. I was really scared, now. I had not yet, at this point in my young life, broken any bones, and I was imagining what all my broken bones will look like to my Mom, who would surely spank me for being so careless.

Uncle Dan caught me.

UNCLE DAN CAUGHT ME!!!!!

I laughed really hard at the relief of not splattering on the hard Carthage playground soil, and at the joy of knowing Uncle Dan was as good as his handshake said he was. He tickled me hard, and we laughed. Then he said, “You ready to go again??” I yelled, “YES!!!”. He said, “OK, but this time, I believe you can land on your feet. Wanna try?” I was not afraid anymore. I knew that if Uncle Dan saw I was in danger, he would catch me, like he did last time. That was the first time I ever knew that it was OK to make a mistake. Uncle Dan was going to be there to catch me. I became fearless. I wanted to show Uncle Dan I was fearless, that I was a big boy, and was ready to jump out of any old airplane. And I did, over and OVER until I think Uncle Dan was exhausted.

He stopped the swing and said, “I think you earned your wings, young man! Lets go celebrate in the pool with a coke.” And we did. I learned that, sometimes, you just have to have a joyful sense of reckless abandon in order to Accomplish your goals.

BACK ON THE BIKE

(As Josh Groban steps up to the mike, the orchestra plays the opening to “You Lift Me Up”)

By this time, I had ridden eight miles. I was on the return leg from Hwy 288, and I needed to stop at the 3rd Pond from home, and rest. The sun didn’t feel THIS hot when I left the house. Things started to go black, so I got off the bike and sat down. When I came too, and I could see again, I grabbed my water bottle and drank it dry. As I sat, feeling the cool breeze blowing off the pond, I thought about that family reunion and my Uncle Dan. That must have been, I dunno, 50 years ago? I couldn’t remember. But I remembered how brave I felt because Uncle Dan helped me learn to jump out of the swing. I sat and thought about all the daring things I have done since those days. I learned from Uncle Dan that I can do it if I believe I can do it. I don’t have to be afraid.

That is when it hit me.

I am a very young Christian. I know that because of the exchange that took place on the cross, Jesus took away all my sin and failure, and anything that separates me from God , and became all those things, and died of them. Jesus promised me that, now that I am a Child of God, I have all His inheritance, and that as long as I seek God and His kingdom, that:

John 14:26 – New International Version


the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – Jesus

and

Romans 8:15 – New Living Translation


So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”” – Apostle Paul

I know now that, no power of hell, or fear of man can pluck me from my Father’s Hand. I now know, HE will be there to catch me when I fall.  I can grow in all ways to be like Christ. This doesn’t mean I will never fall, but it DOES mean the Holy Spirit of God will be there when I do.

Romans 8:1 – English Standard Version


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Apostle Paul

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit will not condemn you, call you a failure, or judge you when you fall.  God has already poured all his wrath out on Jesus at the Cross.  In God’s eyes, you are His innocent Child, covered by the blood of Christ, filled with the Faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20), and filled with the Holy Spirit of God.  He will teach you how to fly, and how to land on your feet.  He will grow you up in all ways to be like Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, and our Brother.  God the Father is not like an earthly parent who will condemn and criticize you when you fail, but He will demonstrate His love toward you and raise you up to be just like Jesus, His only begotten Son.

We are heirs and adopted children of God, and nothing in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else,  can take us away from Him.   No religion on earth can do for you what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Your religion says there always be one more thing, one more level, one more way to tell you that you still have to prove your worthiness to the Living God. Religion will give you an opinion of God.  Religion will give you the rules you must follow to please God.  This is all any religion can do for you.  God is our Father. When Jesus said, on the Cross, “It Is Finished”, all judgment on you stopped.  All that is left is the Grace and Mercy and Love of God toward you.  God loves you and accepts you right now, just as you are. You do not have to change one thing to come to God. All you have to do is believe:

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  –  John 3:16 – 17 – Words of Jesus, the Savior of Mankind.

There is no other message for mankind on this earth. This is THE truth.

I am free to trust God in all things. I am free from the judgment of Man. I am free from the wages of Sin and Death. I am all that God says I am. I am an Heir with Jesus. I am righteous because of Jesus. I live in abundance through the faith Jesus has placed in me. I plant my tiny seed of faith in the garden of Jesus’ faith, and grow a mighty tree. I do not have a theological opinion of God, I have a relationship with the Living God, my Father, through Jesus Christ.  Jesus came here to destroy all barriers between you and God. He came to re-establish the relationship we lost in the Garden of Eden.

If you will accept him, You will be a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17). You can trust with reckless abandonment that God is your Father, that you are His child, and the Holy Spirit will be there to catch you, and will teach you to be just like Jesus. IF you will accept this one and only truth.

Let’s be about it!

I Love you because God loved me.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

Happy Father’s Day


I love you with all my heart.

I love you with all my heart.

1 Peter 1:3 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

I knew from childhood that you were there, but everyone told me to be afraid of you.

I was scared that you would “Get me for that”.

I wanted to please you so I became as religious as I could.

I never found you in my religion.

Then I met your Son.

He wasn’t mad at me.

He didn’t scold me.

He loved me.

I asked him why.

He smiled at me and said:

John 14:10 ESV

Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Then He breathed on me, and I believed.

Now I get it, God.

Just as you are Jesus’ Father, you are now my father, too.

In order to show us how much you love us, you had to send your own Son here:

To live among us.

To show us your likeness.

To die in our place for the fall.

And to rise again to show us that,

if we will simply understand,

if we will simply accept this free gift,

we are already saved, redeemed, and healed, and loved of God.

If we will simply understand that this is free, because you love us, and you did this for us.

John 3:16 ESV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

I do believe, now, Father.

I believe not because others tell me I must.

I believe because I met Him, for real.

What He is showing me about you takes my breath away.

You love all of us on Earth.

You are not mad at us.

Jesus paid the price for anything and everything that stands between us and you.

All we have to do is accept this gift, this free gift.

Where religion hid your love from me, Your Son revealed it.

What gift can I give to You, Father, that would show and demonstrate what an amazing love I have for YOU?

All I have is me.

That I willingly give to you.

I love you, my Father.

I love you.

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Faith, Observations

“…but their hearts are far away”


Luke 6:46  ESV :  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Luke 6:46 ESV : “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

The pressure to produce, lately, is overwhelming.  I have obligations, and the means to meet them are getting harder to come by.  As I fell into my “Charles In Charge” mode, and prepared to execute an action plan I had devised, I heard the Lord.

I recognize the voice of the Spirit, now that I have ears to hear.

“Come talk with me”, said the Spirit.

I am not used to this gentle Spirit of Love talking to me.

Keeping in mind the Business Model I have learned throughout life, I reminded the Spirit that I have things to accomplish, and I have broken them down into three categories:

1. MUST:   Do the things you MUST do first. KNOW THE MISSION, DO THE MISSION!   I have to accomplish a lot in a very little time if I am going to meet my obligations.  Earn your living, pay your bills, meet your deadlines.  If you have obligations, you MUST meet them, no matter what else is going on.  That is life, and how it is.  As I am running against real deadlines, and everything depends on me to accomplish them, I have to hit the bricks and perform my duties.

2. NEED:  Next, do the things you NEED to do. THESE ITEMS WILL ALWAYS BE HERE IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER.    I need to get the car tuned up, and have the timing belt replaced (It is a Toyota, and has greater than 200,000 miles).  I need to replace the weather-stripping on the back door.  I am not fond of trying to air condition all of Texas.  I need to get braces for Hannah, get my wife knee surgery, glasses, and take her out on a few dates…

3.  WANT:   Finally, do the things you WANT to do.  I want to spend all my time praying and serving God, because of Jesus.  I want to be the best writer that ever walked the face of the earth.  I want to take my family on vacation…I want to show them the places I have been on this planet, so they can see the incredible beauty I have witnessed.  There are a thousand more things I want to do.  And, while stopping to spend time with the Lord would be fabulous, I have obligations that take precedence.

The agony of my obligations have been gnawing at me relentlessly.

I MUST meet certain obligations…MUST, and do it NOW!!”, I practically shouted that at the Lord.

Did you know that you can actually hear the Lord sigh, and hear (see) Him grin?  It is true…you just have to know how to hear, and know how to see.

“Come talk with me”, said the Spirit. 

I am irresistibly drawn to His voice.

I lay my agenda on my desk…I cannot say “no” to His invitation.  

“Here I am, Lord”

“Hop on your bike and meet me at the third pond.”, He said.  (REALLY, Lord??  It is freaking HOT out here in Pearland.  HOT, and the Sun will melt me before I get out of the driveway!) 

“OK, Lord, I’ll do it.”

A few weeks ago, I decided I need to get back on my bike.  My car was in the shop, and I had obligations.  My bike was my back-up plan.  My first time out was a dismal failure.  I had a flat, and on the return leg, I had a mild heat stroke.  If it weren’t for the concern of two people whom I love very much, mild would have turned in to severe, and I probably would have ended up in the hospital.  After that, and after recovering, I decided I will get back on the bike, and relearn how to ride.  It really is an art, if riding a bike is one of your passions.     I am up to 12 miles, every other day.  I ride outbound 6 miles, to Highway 288, and ride back the same 6 miles.  The body doesn’t forget, and I had adapted to riding in real heat and humidity in decent time.  Perhaps I can lose that next 50 pounds this way.

I looked back at my agenda.  It lay on my desk, accusing me of being a slacker.  I HAVE OBLIGATIONS!!!  

“OK, Lord, I’ll do it.”

The rays of the Sun bore down like fine needles, piercing every part of me.

The 12 mile route includes passing by three water overflow reservoir, or ponds.  When it rains here, (AND IT RAINS HERE), these overflow reservoir collect all the run-off from all the neighborhoods in the area.  Reservoir abound through-out South Texas. Pearland is, after-all, in hurricane alley.    I pass by three reservoir when I ride.

I love to ride fast.  If found, however, that, if I maintain a 9 mile per hour pace, I get enough air flow so I can breathe (The air was just hanging around, not moving.).  I also discovered that, if I go faster than 9 miles per hour, the sapping energy loss of the heat and sun shine would deplete my reserves before I go a mile.  So, I kept the pace at a very leisurely 9 miles per hour.

I discovered that riding this slow gave me the chance to see where I am riding, to absorb the beauty that is Pearland, Texas, to actually look people in the face as I pass them by.  My blood pressure started falling.  The knots in my stomach were coming undone.  I felt a song stirring in my heart, “This IS my Fathers world…” . I hummed the song as I rode my bike. 

Recent heavy rains meant the reservoir were still laden with enough water to support wild life.  I watched the cranes and heron and gulls sitting in shallow water, their wings open, so they could get some natural air conditioning.  “This is my Father’s world,  the birds their carols raise,  the morning light, the lily-white,  declare their maker’s praise.”  The oppressive heat turned into a warm embrace…I caught myself singing out loud.  When did I start doing THAT?

After just a few minutes, I arrived at the third pond.  I walked my bike around the pond until I found some shade trees to rest under.  I drank some water and let the breeze off the pond cool me.  Those birds really knew what they were doing.  I listened to the frogs, and dragonflies, and heard turtles making their way to the water.  I saw snakes hiding in the rush under some trees that had their roots in the pond.  What a good thing it is to sit and watch God at work.  Nature is God’s work.

“How was the ride?”   “Amazing”  

He grinned again.  “I’m glad you came here.”  “Me too, Lord, me too…”  

“What has you so fearful?  “My life just went out of control, Lord.  I don’t know what to do.”  

“What did you learn from your last mission?“, He asked, gentleness soothing my soul.   “I need to keep my eyes on you, Lord.  I got caught up in their religion, and made their 12 commandments more important than the author and creator of those virtues.  I looked to man for approval, not to you.  When I got too caught up in trying to observe the “Law” of the commands, I forgot about the Grace of the Lord.”  “I learned that religious people can hide some pretty intense hate and fear behind their “Positive Attitude”.  I learned that, whether we are in the desert crossing to the promised land, or in Texas, “Living the Dream”, if we turn your virtues into a law, and make the law more important than the Creator, then we have lost sight of what is really important. In the end, we make hypocrites of ourselves.  And we advertise that we follow these virtues when it is apparent to everyone that we don’t.”  “I also learned that when I am keeping my eyes on you, things go really well.  But when I look to myself or others, I fail miserably.”

“That’s was a mouth full!  And I think I hear some judgement encroaching your lessons, too.”  “David, I don’t judge you.  All judgement of all sin and failure was poured out on Jesus at the Cross.  I am here to teach you.  What you said is true, but you didn’t mention THE truth.”

“Lord, please tell me THE truth, then.  What am I to you?  What am I going to do now?  How does this apply to the fact that You sent me here?”

“David, I have called you and Sandy to serve me, and me alone.  I sent you here, and soon, you will know why.  I need you to learn these lessons, as painful as they are.  Keep your eyes on ME, and trust that I know what I am doing.  Stop trying to please man AND serve me at the same time.  That is not possible.  Remember at all times the Love and Grace I have given you.  You are to give generously to all who you meet.  Never take matters into your own hands.  I am your Lord, I care for you, I love you, and there is no condemnation on you because you are in Me.  Seek me first, in all things, in all ways, and all the rest of the things on your list will be taken care of.”   What you experienced at that place was, in fact, exactly what you asked me for.

“What?”  “It’s TRUE.”  “WHEN?” “Remember you prayed to work at a place where My virtues are pointed out, where people are Christians, where ‘Doing the Right Thing’ actually means something?”  “Yes, I do.” “You got what you asked for.  You have no more business judging them for their shortcomings than they do judging you for yours.  I sent you to where you asked to be sent.  But, even so, I always send you where I need you, where you will do the most good, and grow to be like Me.”  “You simply forgot why I sent you, that’s all.  Now that you have learned this lesson, I will send you where you can do some good.  Just remember to keep an eye on Me.  I will meet all your needs.  My promise is not conditional, nor is it based on whether you behave yourself or not.  I always keep my promise.  You will serve me.  The more like me you become, the less you will have to worry about in this world.”

American Christians are not yet at the point where it will cost them their lives for their faith.  We have become complacent, and have turned what God has intended for good into a religion that drives mankind far away from God.  We have fellowships that are more like clubs.  We do not readily accept the unwashed, the sinner, the outsider.  If I don’t think like you, then I am wrong.  The hard truth is, neither of us think like God, nor do we have the mind of Christ.  That is not an accusation, that is a hard-earned observation.  In my anti-religious stance, I have built a new religion.  In your Americanized Christianity, you have built a religion.  Jesus did not come here to build a religion, but a relationship.  Any time we forget that seeking the Kingdom of God, and HIS righteousness is more important than anything else we will do, then we are in error.  We are still saved.  But we are not following God, through Jesus Christ.

Jesus died of all our sin, all our failure, all our fear, all our poverty, all our lack, and anything else that built a wall between us and His kingdom.  In return for this, He gave us eternal life, eternal fellowship with God, and everything that HE inherited as Lord.  We abound in God’s goodness, if only we can remember how to hear and see what God has done for us.  When what we do as Christians drives people away from God, then we are being religious.  When what we do does not bring the lost to the Kingdom of God, and the Saved to be more like Him, then we are practicing a religion.  If we are running a business that touts the virtues of God, but does not actually serve God, then stop saying what you are, and just be what you intend to be.  By seeking God, your business WILL have those virtues, and God will make sure everyone knows it.  Bragging on HIS children is one of the things God LOVES to do.

We still sin, and fail, but God’s promise is eternal.  You are His child.  You will be made in to the image and likeness of His son, Jesus.

Religion worships the idea of God, and the idea of the virtues of God, but the heart of religion is all about lip service to the Creator.  We are more concerned about being right than being like Him.

The Cure for Anxiety

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you — you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” – Jesus – Matthew 6:25-33

This is why I know that, in spite of any failure on my part, or any judgement of mankind against me, in the end, I will serve the Lord.  He has become my first love, and I desire Him above all else.  My burning desire is to serve Him.  He is using my failures to teach me how to succeed HIS way.  And I love even these hard lessons.  Forgiveness, Love, Grace, Mercy, Service, Giving, are more important than any idolatrous covenant that God never asked you to agree to.  All things that God desires to give you will come to you when you seek Him first.

Let’s Be About It!
I love you.
David G. Perkins

 

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Faith

Romans 8:28


Jesus, the Healer of Our Souls

Jesus, the Healer of Our Souls

He was flat on his back, groaning. It wasn’t the pain that brought him back to consciousness. It was the choking dust. The pain came a few seconds later. The fear of never breathing again was overwhelming. This was the second time he had been thrown off a cliff. The wind had been knocked out of him, but, as he began to draw in that first, blessed, breath of air, the dust floating around him from the impact of his fall was choking him. The pain came when he tried to roll over and stand up. It felt like every bone in his body had been broken. He gasped for breath while he ran his hands over his body to check if his bones were not broken. Nothing broken, but it sure felt that way. It was a good drop from the edge of the cliff. It was a miracle he wasn’t broken to pieces and killed.

When his ears stopped ringing, he heard shouting from a distance above him. He staggered around in a circle until he could focus his eyes and look up. Steadying his stance, he looked up and saw the people who had thrown him off the cliff. They were shaking their fists at him, screaming curses at him, wishing death on him, and telling him he should never come back.

Less than a year ago, this had happened to him at another place. He was dismayed that it had happened again. Greater than the physical pain was the hurt that he had been rejected again.

He could just make out the towering spire of the temple, behind the screaming crowd. Leading that crowd was the Chief Priests of that community. They had contacted him and asked him to come. They had heard about him, and thought that he could bring about the changes needed in their community. Others had tried and failed, including the Chief Priests. One of the High Priests even told him that the Creator had given him a vision of how he was the person to lead that community into the future.

HE had accomplished much of what he knew the Creator had sent him to accomplish. The people had caught the vision he laid out. The changes came, not because of him, but because he shared the vision with the people. All He had to do was deliver the message the Creator had told him to deliver, and to do specific things the creator had told him to do. As long as he did this, things went very well.

There were a certain group of people he had to work the hardest with and for. They fought him every inch of the way. Still, change happened, and things slowly improved. One of the people in this particular group had the ability to hide his falsehoods in a web of half-truths, and cause people to believe his words. This was a slowly dripping poison that had the potential to destroy all he had accomplished. Still, he pressed on.

There was a monument in the center of the village that enumerated all the creeds of their forefathers. It was the forefathers that had founded this town, and the creeds that had held it together through good and bad times. These creeds stirred his heart every time he read them. He knew he was new to the walk, but he was determined to embody these creeds, and lead by example, just as the forefathers had done. He could tell that very few people in the village took the creeds seriously, and acted on them only when the High Priest happened to be looking. This frustrated him a great deal that such duplicity could live in the hearts of the villagers. Did they not understand that it was by the Godly leadership of the forefathers that this village even existed. Yet, here they were, willing to use them as a superficial tool. They spoke bravely of these creeds, but were too afraid to walk in them.

Eventually, he grew weary of the Chief Priests and the people swearing their dying loyalty to the creeds that they boasted of, and he grew weary of fighting the prophet of falsehoods. Instead of responding in the manner that the Creator had told him to do, he took matters in his own hands. He grew angry and impatient with the utter hypocrisy that seems to surround all religious people. He betrayed the trust of those who had asked him to come there. All his good efforts were undone in that single moment. It seemed that, once again, the Enemy of our souls had won another round.

He faced his accusers, and was charged, and was thrown over the cliff, and told never to return. All the work he had accomplished was in jeopardy of being destroyed because of him.

His heart was broken. He wept. He didn’t feel self-pity, just a deep disappointment. God had sent him here, and had worked a few miracles to bring him here. He had not done as the Father had told him to do.

As he wondered why God had arranged him to be here, the crowd suddenly grew silent. They covered their mouths and pointed at something behind him. The cliff formed a U-shaped wall around a valley. He was standing in the very back of the cliff walls, where he had been thrown off.

He turned around to see what all the silence was about.

Standing about 50 feet in front of him, in a semi-circle, blocking his escape, were the most hideous beings he had ever seen. These wraith leered at him and slathered their delight at his downfall. He heard the High Priest shouting to the people to turn away and go home. That he was getting the punishment he deserved, and they need to run away if they don’t want th wraith to chase them. Such was the beliefs of the village.

He recognized who these wraith were. He dared not speak their names, or listen to their taunting curses and laughter. But he knew them well. Their names were Fear, Doubt, Curses, Blame, Anger, Despair, and Destruction. He knew them very well, as they used to be the only friends he ever had before Jesus, the Son of God, had touched him, and healed his heart, about 8 months ago.

He knew that if he listened to them, he would consider their accusations and succumb to the temptations they offered. Their presence was strong, and their words very enticing. He shook with the effort of trying to ignore them. As they inched closer, he began to panic. He wondered if this was why God had sent him here. To be destroyed by his own demons, that he thought he had been delivered of.

He remembered what Jesus had told him at his healing: “God is not judging you. While life has natural consequences, you are forgiven, because I bore all your sin and disease and failings on the Cross, and have given you all that I am and have in exchange for your sin. Never let doubt and fear distract you. There is nothing in all of Heaven or in Earth that can ever separate you from His love, ever again. You are his child, now. Call on Me when you are in need, and I will answer.”

Despite his misgivings, in spite of his fear and doubt, he raised his hands and said:

“My Father, I come before you in the name of Jesus. I thank you that I am acceptable to you, because I am in Christ, and He is in me. I come before you with all confidence and boldness because of the sacrifice of Jesus. (Eph. 1:6, Heb. 4:16)”

“You are my Father, and I am your Child.”

“I thank you that nothing can ever take me out of your hand again.”

“Because of the Lord Jesus I am adopted into the Family of God.”, “Because I am in Jesus, I am an heir to the everlasting Kingdom, that, because of His sacrifice, he exchanged all He has and Is for all my sin; He had given me all He has.”

“God, my Father, I am seeking, first, YOUR Kingdom and Your righteousness, and you meet ALL my needs” (Matt.6:33)

“Because You are my Father, you reveal your perfect will for my life.” (Matt. 11:25)
“Because I love and trust You, I seek to do Your will.” (Matt. 12:50)
“Because You are my Father, I love Jesus, who You sent to be my Savior.” (John 8:82)
“Because I am in the Lord Jesus, and He is in You, I am in you, too. I will always abide in your presence.” (John 10:10, 17:21)
“Father God, I abide in Your glory, which was given to Jesus, who, because I am now in Him, He has given to me. You crown me with dignity and worth. I am the redeemed of Christ. I am all You say I am. Father, I glorify You in the Earth.” (John 17:22)

As he was saying these things, joy flooded his broken heart. He felt the presence of the Spirit of GOd arrive and fill his every fiber. He danced and sang praises to God, because of Jesus Christ.

While he was praising, a presence appeared right in front of him. He stopped moving. He didn’t make a sound. He just stood staring in awe at who was standing right there in front of him.

Jesus stood looking him in the eye.

The prophet fainted.

Jesus said, “Please, get up.” And he held out His hand to pick up this soiled little prophet.

Jesus dusted him off, and smiled at him, and gave him water from the jug He had been carrying.

The prophet was utterly speechless. Jesus grinned and gave him a friendly smack on the shoulder, and said, “Well, for once, you are speechless!”. Then Jesus laughed at his own joke. This made the prophet relax, and eventually, he was laughing along with Jesus.

Christ walked the prophet over to an outcropping of rock, under a shade tree. He asked the prophet, “Where are your little wraith?”, That is when the prophet looked around, as if he was finally taking in his surroundings. “Gone, Lord. GONE!!”, said the prophet. And he grinned. Jesus chuckled and said, “Of course, nothing can stand in the praise of the Father, and no attack from them can befall one who has faith in the promises.”

The prophet said, “But Lord, I know you sent me to that village. I have ample evidence it was you that sent me there. But I have been kicked out. I have failed you again, and now I don’t know why I am here. I just know you sent me.”

“So, what will you do now?”, asked Jesus.

“I don’t know, just wait for you to tell me what to do, I guess.”, said the prophet.

Jesus said, “You guessed right. Wait for my instructions. I have sent you to be where you are. Never doubt that.”

“But I really blew it, Lord!”, pled the Prophet, “How can I possibly carry on after such a colossal failure?” “What will I do?” “My behavior turned my confession in to a lie!”

Jesus answered, “Friend, you will learn from me, and of me. You will be made in to my image. One way or another, when this is done, you will resemble Me.”, “For now, know you are loved of the Father, and by Me.”, “I promised I will send the Spirit of God to you, and I have. Listen to the leading of the Spirit. Get used to hearing and obeying when the Spirit speaks. Stay your ground, and do not look to the left or right. Have faith.”

The prophet asked, “What about the Village?”

“You have no idea,” replied Jesus, “what your influence has done there. Let me worry about the Village, and let the Village decide how it will believe. I will turn your curses into blessings, and I will see that the seed you planted, where it was planted, will be watered and will grow at the hands of another. What you may see as a failure, I will turn into a blessing in the end. You just have to decide what you believe is true about me.”

The prophet knelt before Jesus and said, “My Lord, Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross for me. You paid for my sins. You made it possible for me to come before the Father. You carried the punishment for my sin, so I would not have to carry it. You rose from the dead, so I could have a new life. You shed your blood for me and removed all my sins. Jesus, I worship you and call you my Lord. (I Cor. 15:3-4, Gal. 3:13. 2 Cor. 5:17, Heb. 10:19, Rom. 5:9)

“I thank you, Jesus, for bringing me in to the family of God. You are my Elder Brother, and God is my Father, and I worship you this day. You have made me to be an heir of Your Kingdom.” (Heb. 2:11-13, Rom. 8:17, Col, 1:12, Rev. 5:10)

Then the prophet stood kissed Jesus on both cheeks.

Jesus stood up and said, “My little brother, rest assured this is not the end of your walk with me. Remember when I told you that things would get really dark?”

“Yes, I do, Lord.” said the Prophet.

“What did I say to you when I told you this was coming?”, asked Jesus.

“You told me that, no matter what happened, I am to cling to you, and have faith that you will turn this darkness into bright daylight, and this curse into a blessing. That, in the end, I will serve you successfully.” The prophet answered.

“Then do not fear. Know I am with you. It is like your elder brother, Paul said, ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes.’ (Rom. 8:28). So know this, my brother, I have called you. I have prepared a way for you. Even when you fail, I love you and forgive, before you even ask. I will turn all your curses into blessings. Just stand your ground and keep believing.”

Then Jesus vanished.

The prophet stood there mouth gaping. He didn’t know what to do first, laugh, or cry. He was too blown away to begin walking again, so he sat on the rocks he and Jesus had sat on earlier. While he was thinking of all that had happened, he had a feeling that someone else was watching him. He looked up the cliff to see who it could be. Sure enough, there was a lone figure leaning against the rail at the edge of the cliff.

It was the High Priest.

 

 

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Faith, Observations

Growing Pains – Lessons from the Kindergarten of God – Part 1


When dealing with yourself, use your mind.  When dealing with others, use your heart.  John Maxwell

“When dealing with yourself, use your mind. When dealing with others, use your heart.”  – John Maxwell

Introduction – Dedicated to my co-workers at Cates Control Solutions

I was writing about the Core Values of the company I work for. I feel I have to interrupt that series for two reasons: 1) My recent behavior betrayed that I adhere to those values only when it suits me, and 2) The lessons I am learning here are rich, meaningful, and important.

Something happened at work, the other day.  In my mind it was “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.  It was time for me to take action and speak out.  That is exactly what I did.  I spoke out.  The end result was less than stellar.  My conversation had deteriorated to the point that I was not being constructive, but destructive.  The very people I wanted to reach were put off by my behavior and speech.  Nothing was gained, and any trust I had earned was in jeopardy of being lost.  I had let my mouth run before I had put my mind in gear.

All this time I had been praying about, speaking about, and writing about the finished work of the cross, and the exchange that took place between God, Jesus and Man at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.  My behavior and speech betrayed an entirely different story, though.  And when I finally cooled off enough to listen, I heard a Loving God tell me that my conduct was less than becoming for His child.  It was a simple rebuke, and lovingly spoken, but I have not been the same since.  I am undone, and I hurt that I let my Lord down so blatantly.

Being filled with the Spirit of God doesn’t mean you are finally a fully grown child of God.  It means you have just been born again.  And being born, you are nurtured for a season in the sweet and warm light of the Spirit.  As you grow, however, the Spirit of God will begin to gently and lovingly teach you lessons on the character of Christ.  If you pay attention, and receive these lessons, you grow, and it doesn’t hurt.  But if you are a jackass, like I tend to be, the Spirit will let you have your way, and deal with you lovingly, but in a way that you can see your selfishness in the same light as God sees it.  That is where the pain is.  When I see myself behave badly, I feel the same pain as the Spirit must feel when looking at rebellion.

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” ― John C. Maxwell

“For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:12

Where Are My Roots?

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1 – Jesus

I have a choice.  I can abide in Christ, or I cannot.  I can choose to do either one.

Choosing not to abide at all has a consequence all its’ own, and I will not write about that here.

The choice to abide in Him is what this is about.

When I choose to know God and be transformed into the likeness (behavior) of Christ, I am aided by the very power of God to be conformed into Christ’s likeness.  When I chose to take matters into my own hands, I have stopped abiding in Christ.  This branch in me bore fruit, but not Godly fruit.  This branch must be pruned in order that it may bear good fruit.  The sap that runs in the branches, powered by the Holy Spirit, bears good fruit.  Good fruit is that which leads others to Jesus, that which demonstrates Love, Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness.

The Spirit of God will deal directly with you, without condemnation, and with all Love, Grace and Mercy. It is only Satan who accuses you and condemns you. The Children of God behave as Christ does, the Children of Satan, behave as Satan does. The evidence of who we follow is borne in the fruit we bear.

What is My Fruit?

“Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:16b – 18 – Jesus

Do my words and deeds bear fruit that others will enjoy and grow from?  Do the words of my mouth bring life or death?  Is my confession holy or unholy? If my words cause division, strife, scorn, hatred, and alienates my confession from my identity, then I am bearing bad fruit.   My first fruit has to be forgiveness of my own shortcomings, so I can forgive others of theirs.  I can do this when I remember that Jesus died of ALL sin.  He became all sin and bore the wrath of God.  In exchange, He gave me His holiness and His Grace and His Love and His Mercy and His standing with God.  This exchange, this fruit, has to grow in me as I abide in Him.  Apart from Him I can do nothing. There is no other way I can bear good fruit.

I am grateful to God that He chooses to forgive and prune me, rather than just throw me away at the first sign of my weakness.

Where Are My Thoughts?

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1 – Jesus

If I want to be received well by my fellow-man, I must treat my fellow-man with all the love and respect with which I want them to treat me.

It may be that, when my fellow-man judges me, that they simply do not really know what I am doing, or what my vision of my job is.  It may simply be that they are unhappy with the way I do things because it is not the way they would do it.  It may be that they cannot let go of a past whose spirit I embrace, but whose method have not grown to keep up with the amazing growth of Cates.

When I judge them, rather than accept them, I have closed any door of communication that could exist.  I have lost a friend.  If I want to have friends at work, I must first be a friend at a work.  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.” Proverbs 17:17

I desire to understand my co-workers as well as be understood by them.  My words and behavior will determine if I can accomplish this.

What Am I Doing?

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12 – Jesus

If I am forgiven, I must speak forgiveness to others.

If I have received Grace, I must speak gracefully to others.

If I have received Mercy, then I must be merciful to others.

If I am Loved of God, then I must love and be lovely to others

I Will Reap What I Sow.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over — will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” 

This is a universal principle. You do not have to be any religion to see this happen in your life. You will always get back what you give to others, and you will get it more abundantly than you gave it out. The difference between the Christian doing this, and others doing it is this: When a Christian does this, the end result is the Glorification of God for what He accomplished through Jesus Christ.

I have a choice of where I want to store up my treasures. Being merciful and graceful doesn’t mean everyone will be merciful and graceful back to me. Some people are just evil in their hearts and delight in the demonstration of that evil. But, for the most part, people will always give back to you what you give to them, and they will give it back with interest, and they will invite their friends to do the same.

If I am reaping something at work, it is probably because I sowed it, first.

My Prayer:

My Heavenly Father, I love you and Praise you because of the finished work of the Cross, and all the gifts you have given me because of it. I pray, in the Name of Jesus, that you bind my tongue to the truth, and teach me mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. I pray that you teach me how to encourage others to do the same. – AMEN

“Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Reality is what exists regardless of human opinion.” – Chris Putnam

Part 2 coming.

Let’s Be About It!

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Faith, Observations

Me and My Big Mouth – Part III.


Taming the Tongue

1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,a and set on fire by hell.b 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,c these things ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. James 3:1 – 12 ESV

Too often, I speak without thinking, I think without reason, and I reason without listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

That is when what I think I am saying turns into a thing I never intended to say.

One thing is clear; When the Spirit of God gives you utterance, it will most likely surprise you more than it surprises the listener.  The reason that is so is, the Listener was looking for the answer deep in their heart, and the Spirit of God simply reveals the heart of the hearer, and He gave you utterance to that listener, despite of what “wisdom” you think you have..

My mouth will speak what is in my heart.  My heart will believe what I choose for it to believe.  When what I chose to believe is contradictory to the will of God, I have ceased to represent God, and the finished work of Christ.  When I do this, I am reproved of God.  He is gentle and loving, and does not condemn me when he corrects me.  You can tell who the Children of God are when they correct you the same way.  If I am wise, I learn…if I am a fool, I am broken on the truth.  If I refuse to learn, then I am useless.

This is what I pray the Spirit of God will write on my heart:

Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”  Luke 21:15, ESV – Jesus

This is true of every utterance you have.  Wether in writing, or in speech, in thought or in deed.  I must labor into the rest of the finished work of Christ, and allow the Spirit of God to do His mysterious and powerful work in me.  To do anything else is rebellion against the One whom I say I have accepted in my heart.

Even Confucius understood this:  “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone.”

Paul said it best:

15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

I pray that the Spirit of God first teach me this wonderful love, and write it on my heart.  I pray that, if I have to speak or write, under any circumstance, that I do it in the love He has poured into me. I pray that I do not rely on my own understanding, but learn to get myself out of the way before I attempt to tell anyone anything.

Let’s Be About It!

I love You,

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith, Observations

Test of Authenticity


Luke 6:46  ESV :  “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Luke 6:46 ESV : “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

 

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

I am doing a research, right now, where I compare the writings of two different Christian Leaders.  One of these leaders manages to take everything he discusses back to the finished work of the cross.  The other one, a more influential person, acknowledges the work on the Cross, but manages to take his work back to Adlerian Psychology, Mixed with Ericksons Stages of Development.  I recognize other influences, in there, too, but, whether he calls his modality these things, or not, this is what he is doing.

One leader takes the hurt soul and shows us where we are complete in the finished work of Christ, and are given a host of gifts.  This leader tells us our identity no longer lay in the things of this earth, but, as a new creation, we are now completely loved, accepted, and are being made in the likeness of Christ our savior.  The rest of his works describe the scriptural basis of Christian Authenticity.

The other leader, despite the finished work of Christ, wants to take us through our developmental stages of life, point out where we were “wounded” and how that affects our lives, and uses several psychological gimmicks to justify and solidify this teaching.  Then he peppers it with scripture in an effort to undergird his writing.

This inauthentic approach never releases you from sin, never gives you a chance to labor into the rest of the finished work of Christ, and never releases you from a past that Christ clearly died for.

At Cates Control Solutions, we have a saying about Responsibility:  We accept the responsibilities of our position and know we are accountable to meet our obligations.

So, what is my responsibility to what I am reading.  Simple, when I read any leader of the “Christian Faith”, the test of authenticity I have learned to recognize is this:  It either takes you to the finished work of the Cross, and how that makes you a new creation, or it doesn’t.  When Christ died of our sin, he didn’t die for just a few things.  He died of everything, so you will receive everything that is His.  You do not have to regress and confront anything in your past.  Your past is dead.  When Christ rose from the dead, Your NEW SELF rose with him.  OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY.  I also know from experience, any “woundedness” I carry is because I have not rested in the finished work of the cross.  I do not have to identify myself with anything but Jesus, and seek the Kingdom of God.  There is nothing I need to go back and fix.  I labor to rest in the finished and authentic work of Christ.  I have received all gifts and benefits of the Child of God.

Tonight we observe that Christ died on the cross.  He fulfilled His responsibility, and set you free from all encumbrances.  My responsibility as a new creation, is to make sure I do not get mired down in any doctrine of man that attempts to denigrate the finished work of the cross.

After all, When Jesus said it was finished…He meant it.

I love you in Jesus Name…

…It’s Friday, but SUNDAY IS COMING!  Halleluiah!

David G. Perkins

 

 

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Faith, Observations

Unrelentingly Relentless


Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. I COR 9:24 ESV

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith  Hebrews 12:1-11

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary

3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

re·lent·less

riˈlentləs/adjective

adjective: relentless

1.

oppressively constant; incessant.

“the relentless heat of the desert”

synonyms:

persistent, continuing, constant, continual, continuous, nonstop, never-ending, unabating, interminable, incessant, unceasing, endless, unending, unremitting, unrelenting, unrelieved;

 

To Find My Path of Unrelenting Relentlessness, I first Had To Relent

Part of dying to my old self meant putting away my old self-habits.  I know that the only way to do that, and make it stick, is through the power of the Holy Spirit of God.  And THAT has to be what I call “Heart Surgery”.  For the change to keep, my Heart Beliefs HAVE to align and harmonize with the Spirit of the Living God.  From there, whatever characteristics I stored in my mind are overwritten with the Character of Christ.  When that happens, my body follows.

To relent is to soften your position on certain fast held beliefs.  To relent is similar to repent, which is to change your mind.  The difference is, I must be willing to soften my unrelentingly relentless stance on a wrong belief, it is when I am unrepentantly unrelentless that a character other than that of Christ is revealed in me.

This is why it is written:  Ezekiel 36:29 NIV – ‘“I’m going to give you a new heart, and I’m going to give you a new spirit within all of your deepest parts. I’ll remove that rock-hard heart of yours and replace it with one that’s sensitive to me.”   Before I can learn to relent, I have to submit to the Heart Surgery of the Holy Spirit, and be recreated, which is where II Corinthians 5:17 is revealed in you: Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come”

As a new creation, with a new Spirit and a heart sensitive to the voice of God, you can be remade into the image of Christ.  There are dangers in this, though.  The Spirit of God is gentle, and will never force its will on you without your consent.  You can ignore it, you can deny it, you can do whatever you want.  If you are willing to relent, then you will be changed, gently, without condemnation, and grow to be more like Christ.

WHAT AM I WILLING TO BE RELENTLESS ABOUT.

At Cates Control Solutions, Relentless is defined as follows:  “RELENTLESS: We will not back down from our pursuit of excellence in every aspect of our business.”

So I wondered where that is found in scripture.  Here is an example – Philippians 4:8Finally brotherswhatever is true, whatever is honorablewhatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovelywhatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.”

In order to pursue excellence, I must relent on my attitude that “Good Enough is Good Enough.”  I must find where EXCELLENCE is taught in the Bible, and I must let the Spirit of God write these things on my heart.

Excellence, like any other Core Value, is as meaningful as you will allow it to be, and is only as effective as it is written on my heart.  It is my hard-earned experience that I cannot fake this value of the relentless pursuit of Excellence.

Click the word EXCELLENCE, to see what the Bible has to say about Excellence.

Frankly, left to my own devices, Good Enough is Good Enough for me.  It is not in my carnal nature to want excellence, or to pursue excellence.  This can only come from a changed heart.  It is not just for the sake of Cates Control Solutions that I chase, unrelentingly, after Excellence.  It is first, and foremost because the Spirit of the Living God is pursuing excellence in me.

“RELENTLESS” and all the other Core Values becomes real, not because it is a rule at the office.  It stops being mere words when the Spirit of God is allowed to turn my heart of stone into a heart that is sensitive to the will of God.  If I approach all of the Cates Core Values this way, then it will not matter of this is posted on our wall, or the back of my business card.  I will not have to be reminded by the “Thought Police” to pursue this, either.  It will simply manifest itself as the natural outcome of my unrelentingly relentless pursuit of the Character of Christ.

My Prayer:  Dearest God, My Father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, My Savior, and my Brother, that I relent in my stiff-necked will, and turn toward your voice, and become unrelentingly obsessed with all the things you say are excellent.  I know all the qualities exist in the Person and Likeness of Christ.  Lead me, Dear God, to be just like your son.  – AMEN

Now, Let’s Be About It!

I love you in the name of Jesus Christ.

David G. Perkins

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Faith, Observations

The Looking Glass


In my dreams.  Photo by E. Tom Hussey

In my dreams. Photo by E. Tom Hussey

JAMES 1:23-24 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

We interrupt this series on values to bring you this message.

I Corinthians 15:49 – Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about how our perception of ourselves affects what we believe is true about ourselves.  For example, I have this self-image of me from when I was in peak athletic condition.

In my minds mirror, I see me as still being fit, muscular, coordinated, strong, with real strength, not bottled strength.  In my minds mirror, I still have long, curly blackish/brown hair, full of waves and curls.  In my mind’s eye, I am still wearing 32 inch waist pants.

What the mirror in my mind ells me.

What the mirror in my mind tells me.

The mind can be a tricky thing, and can lead me to many false assumptions based on what I think is true.  Often, my warped ego guides me to many fallacies and false assumptions.

The other day, I did something I honestly RARELY ever do.  I looked at myself in the mirror.  My first impression was, “Hey!  That’s my Dad!  I thought I buried HIM in 2005!”  But when I moved, so did the man in the mirror.  Then it dawned on my conscious mind, and my ego mind, that is not my dad, but ME!!

It was then I realized why I don’t look in mirrors.  I am not that guy my ego told me I am.  I am the very image of my Dad.

IN THE BEGINNING

When God created us, we were made in the image of God, meaning we looked like he looks.  We were also made in the likeness of God, meaning we used to act as He acted because we saw what he did.

AFTER THE FALL

After the fall, we lost touch with God, and lost what was His likeness.  We were not able to return to our glorified state.  No work we could expend any effort on would make us righteous in God’s eyes, even though we became self-righteous in our own eyes.  The ego can really fool a person.

THEN CAME JESUS

Yes, Jesus is the Son of God.  God said so rather loudly at Jesus’ baptism.  But it was the Son of Man that faced temptation.  It was the Son of Man that asked God to take away the cup.  It was the Son of Man that faced God’s wrath.  It was the Son of Man that rose from the dead to prove he is the Son of God, too.

The Image of Christ

We are asked to be like Christ, but we, on our own are not capable.  The best we can do is try, but we eventually fail.  But the scripture says we need to become like Christ.  Peter was the first person to prove that, if you don’t keep your eyes on Christ, you will fail in your effort to be just like Jesus.  The labor into the rest of Christ likeness was that all Peter had to do was keep his eyes, and faith, on Jesus, and he would have walked on the water, by faith, as he was already doing.

In the Garden of Eden, the wind and waves Adam and Eve faced was the lie that doing something else will make you just like God.  They then doubted they were already like God.  They took their eyes off the facts, and the truth, and considered a lie, and a false premise based on circumstances.  Forbidden Fruit.

THE EXCHANGE

If you will consider this, instead, and accept it as fact, instead of believing what you think you apparently see, you will learn that you are already like Christ, if you have accepted His death and resurrection.  When Jesus became all your sin, you received, in exchange, all that Jesus is.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

II Corinthians 3:18

It is all a matter of what we focus on.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8  

Just like Jesus died of our sins, voluntarily, we are able to die to ourselves, voluntarily, as we labor into the rest of accepting that, all that Jesus was, we inherited when He arose from the dead.  When we keep our understanding on this truth, when we comprehend this exchange, and when we accept it in faith, no matter what we think we look like, you will look to God, like His Son, Jesus, and you will eventually appear to others to have the likeness of Christ, too.

After all, that is why you weren’t raptured the second you believed.  You are the only Jesus people will see.  When they see Jesus in you, they will want to know what happened to make you this way.

We are transformed in to the image of Christ

We are transformed in to the image of Christ

Let’s Be About It!

I love you in the Name of Jesus

David G. Perkins

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Faith, Observations

What Were You Looking For?


what-we-see-depends-mainly-on-what-we-look-for

Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”   Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!

When I was a teenager, my Dad decided it was time for me to learn how to fly one of his several airplanes.  Considering my driving history, I thought he surely had a screw loose, somewhere.  By time I was 16, I had already totaled a few cars.  Still, I do love to fly, and had always wanted to fly right seat with my Dad on his adventures.

Our airport was the municipal airport in Plainview, Texas.  At over 3300 feet, altitude, the airport has a whole lot of sky to fling your airplane into.  Dad made sure the wind was relatively calm before he would let me take off.  The high plains are very windy much of the time.  There is a saying in Lubbock, Texas (45 miles south of Plainview), that if the wind ever stopped blowing, everyone would fall down.  Wind is a fact of life, there, and you adjust your walking by leaning into the wind.

Taking off into the wind made flying that much more fun, as I had to generate less lift with the engine.  Flying in the wind, however is a challenge.  This is where the word attitude comes in.  In flight, your attitude is the approach you have to take to flying in the wind, ESPECIALLY when you are landing an airplane.  Landing an airplane on a calm day was challenging enough for me, but landing in high wind was a contest between me and the wind to see who will master my aircraft.  This is when attitude becomes everything.

When nature threw strong wind at me, I had to turn the airplane into the wind on approach to the landing strip.  This is called “Crabbing”.  I am approaching a runway almost sideways, and at the last-minute, I correct my attitude so I can land moving in the right direction.  Another factor in landing attitude is that I could approach the runway only in a narrowly defined angle.  This is called the “Glide Path” .   As you approach the runway, you will see a group of lights.  If my glide path is too low, I will see three or more yellow lights.  If my glide path is too high, I will see red lights, if my glide path is correct for the landing approach, I will see green lights.

Maintaining the right attitude for landing is everything, too.  I am already crabbing in to the runway because of a wind situation, and I also must keep my approach angle right.  If I am yellow on approach, I will not land on the runway.  If I am red, I will land too far in on the runway to keep from overshooting.  I must crab in on a green light.

While I am worried about those two aspects of attitude, I also have to make sure my wings are as level as I can keep them on approach, and that my nose is not too high, or too low.  So, there are possibly 4 parts of attitude I must pay attention to when I am landing.  Overdoing or under-doing any part can mean a bad landing.  Bad landings can complicate your life in ways you don’t need.  It was all about attitude.

 

“WELL, THE METAPHOR IS OBVIOUS, ISN’T IT?”

I hope so.

At CATES (Where I work), one of the twelve principles we live by is: “ATTITUDE – We choose to be positive”.   If you want to approach a subject and land on it with successful outcomes, it helps if your attitude is positive.  Being positive makes all the difference in the world.  It is fairly clear, after over 8000 years of examination, that God has given us the ability to affect the outcomes of every aspect of our lives, simply by determining what we believe is true about it.  Our beliefs change every aspect of our life.  If you believe things will always go wrong, then you will experience that outcome.  If your approach to your fellow-man is negative, then you will reap the benefit of your view of others, and have no genuine friends.

Attitude is one of the very first things the Lord had to really work with me on.  I was a negative and pessimistic individual, whose attitude was reinforced by the outcomes of my life.  My assumption was that I was right because everything always turned out exactly as I thought they would.  God showed me that attitude is a choice.  How I choose to approach anything will directly affect the outcomes.  Attitude is a choice.  It is a habit.  It comes from the heart.  It becomes positive when you learn to look at the world differently.

 

“HOW DID YOU DO IT?”

I’m glad you asked. I didn’t.

My attitude about life, work, love, marriage, co-workers, clientele, family, or anything didn’t change until I fully understood what the finished work of the cross gave me.  When I accepted that Jesus BECAME all sin for all time, and took on the wrath of God in our place, and in exchange, God poured on us all the benefits of being His child, an heir to the throne, a member of God’s family, a love beyond measure, and total forgiveness for all my sin, I finally understood what it felt like to see the world and people the way God does.

I learned to love because God loved me enough to bury my sin with Jesus, and raise my dead soul into a new life.  I had been born in the spirit.  Where I was dead, Jesus’s resurrection gave me life in Him.  The Spirit of God cleansed me and changed my attitude. I began thinking new thoughts.,  I loved for the first time.  I saw people as my brother or sister.  While I am aware of my and others continuing failures, I felt only love for them, and chose to show grace and mercy.  It was easy to do this because this was what God showed me.

So, frankly, I didn’t change my attitude.  Experience has taught me that, I can fake a good attitude only so long, but whatever is hidden in my heart will become manifest over time.  On my own strength I do not love long, I show no mercy or grace, and my attitude is very rotten.  Since I no longer live, but Christ lives in me, I am able to be like Christ and love, show grace and mercy, and look for opportunities to give with a positive attitude.

 

GUARD YOUR THOUGHTS

 

I cannot, by my own strength, maintain this loving attitude.  Only when I guard my thoughts am I able to be filled with this powerful love.  I can break my connection to God simply by going back to my old way of thinking and behaving.  God leaves this up to me.  The way I maintain a good attitude is by staying in the word, praying continuously, and submitting to Gods love and will.  It is only by the continual renewing of my mind that I can be a blessing instead of a curse. I am confident in Christ enough that I know I am weak, but Christ in me is infinitely strong.  If I catch the old self trying to assert his attitude and beliefs, all I have to do is remember that my old self died with Christ, and my new self, the child of God, is who lives through Christ.

Attitude is a choice.  When the blowing wind of earthly things challenges my attitude, when the weight of the world wants to crush me, when my co-workers decide to be peevish and negative, when a thoughtless and selfish humanity threatens to ruin my day, I simply remember who I am in Christ, and ask the Spirit of the Living God to sustain me so I can be a witness to all the things that would otherwise drag me down.  A simple choice of attitude can turn things around, and your witness can cause others to want to know where you have this strength of character.  Then you can tell them why you are joyful in the face of adversity, and strong when temptation desires your soul.

Think on the good things of God continuously, and you will see the world in a very different lite.

It is all a choice, a labor into the rest of the finished work of Christ.

You will always get what you are looking for.

Let’s be about it

I love you all,

David G. Perkins

PS – Click HERE to see how the Bible addresses ATTITUDE.

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Transition States: Saving Grace is Sustaining Grace – Revisited


Grace is Sufficient

 

This blog was originally posted on October 31, 2013.  I mention that I was homeless in this blog.  That has changed.  I and my family are no longer homeless.  I am now employed.  The job I have is probably the very best job I have had in over 25 years.  (Truthfully, nothing compares to full time ministry, IF you are actually serving the Lord, and not your own desires).

Since writing this blog, and getting employed, I am met with new challenges as a baby believer.  It is easy to take one’s eyes off Jesus when the cares of work and living confront you.  As I re-read this blog, I was reminded how strong my faith was when I wrote it.  Life was much harder then.  The difference between then and now is, then I was keeping my eyes continually focused on Christ and His finished work.  Re-reading this blog has reminded me that I need to remember, “The main thing is to always keep the main thing, the main thing.”

I hope this blog reminds you, my fellow struggling traveler, that there are much more important issues than what you think you are facing.  Keeping your eyes on Jesus will sustain you.  

You have all my love and prayer, whoever you are.  DGP  Romans 8:28 


The other day, I decided to turn off the auto-delete feature in my email program.  Suddenly, my inbox was stuffed to exploding with e-mails suggesting that if I ingest a little blue pill, my wife would suddenly be a happy person, or that my auto insurance was inadequate for me, AND that my house needs new siding.  I found that one delightful, as it is very difficult to side a homeless man’s house.

Buried in the midst of that deluge of magnificent offers was a question sent from one of the roughly 20 million alert readers of my blog.  She asked this question:  “Is Saving Grace the same as Sustaining Grace?”.

That is a very good question.

The short answer is:  YES!

If you are busy, or need to run, go ahead, I just answered that question, but if you need me to fill that answer out a bit, read at your own risk, the best answer I could come up with.  CAVEAT LECTOR:  Have your own Bible available, and never take my word, or anyone else’s word for anything.  Read the Bible and see if what I am saying is true, or not.  If it is not, please let me know BEFORE you unsubscribe to this incredibly stimulating and popular blog.  And that would leave just me and my mom as subscribers.

The long answer is:

I have to make certain assumptions of the person who asked me this question.  Here is the list of assumptions I am making.

YOU BELIEVE:

There IS a God.

That God is the SAME God mentioned throughout the Bible (Christian).

God sent His Son into a sinful world.

His Son, Jesus, did for us Humans what we could not do for ourselves.  Jesus made the broken bridge of communion with God whole again so we can have fellowship with God, and live in eternity with God in Heaven.

Jesus accomplished this feat by being nailed to the cross.  When He did that, he nailed the Law on the cross with him.  The Law led to the awareness of sin.  Jesus, who committed no sin, became all sin.  When Jesus became all sin, he was cut off from the Father: “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is (Aramaic), “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

When Jesus died, He descended into Hell and received the full wrath of God.  Jesus paid the full price for every type of sin that ever existed, does exist, and will exist.  He purchased your freedom when He gave up His life.  But God did not intend for Jesus to stay there.  While Jesus was in Hell, He remembered the promises of God, and spoke them, that God will not leave Him in Hell, nor forsake Him, and that He will commune with God again, and will sit on the throne of the Heavens.  Jesus confessed all this while he was in sin and receiving the full wrath of God.  And God sent the Spirit, His own Holy Spirit and brought Jesus back to life.

Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He has the authority to be called the Son of God, and that He has full authority over life and death.

Jesus became every sin imaginable and conquered it in Hell.  He rose again and gave gifts to all who will accept them.  Here is a list of the things Jesus gave us through His resurrection:

  • Rom. 6:4-8 We were crucified with him, died with him, buried with him and united with him in his death.
  • Rom. 6:58 We will (Do live) live with him, united with him in his resurrection.
  • Rom. 8:17 We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
  • Rom. 8:17 If we share in his sufferings, we will also share in his glory.
  • Gal. 2:20 We have been crucified with Christ, and he lives in us.
  • Eph. 2:5-6 God made us alive with Christ, God raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms.
  • Col. 2:12 We have been buried with him in baptism.
  • Col. 2:12-13 God raised us and made us alive with Christ, through faith.
  • Col. 2:20 We died with Christ to the basic principles of this world.
  • Col. 3:1 We have been raised with Christ.
  • Col. 3:3 Our life is now hidden with Christ in God.
  • Col. 3:4 When Christ appears, we will appear with him in glory.
  • 1 Thess. 5:10 He died for us so that we may live together with him.
  • 2 Tim. 2:11 If we died with him, we will also live with him.
  • 2 Tim. 2:12 If we endure, we will also reign with him.

When you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you were born again.  When you were baptized, you were crucified with Him.  When you came up out of the water, you were raised again with Christ.  You are now a resurrected being.  We were dead in our sin, but because Christ became all our sin and died for them on our behalf, and we accepted this free gift, we are now new creations (II Corinthians 5:17).

Look at the list above again.  Look them up in your Bibles.  These are not theoretical constructs.  These statements are the absolute truth.

The same Grace that gave you a new life IS the same grace that sustains that new life.

THEN WHY DOES MY LIFE BLOW CHUNKS?

This happens to almost every believer who is not exposed to the truth.  You were not exposed to this truth because most people don’t know enough to tell you this truth.  Religion and religious tradition do not share this truth for fear of losing control over you.

You were saved, and life seemed sparkly and good.  God answered every prayer you prayed.  His presence was felt everywhere you went, and the meanings of the words in scripture were finally making sense to you.  But then, life happened, and your joy dimmed to a cold ember, and you no longer felt God’s wonderful presence.

When this happened, you were probably told that that is all part of growing up.  That God coddled you while you were a baby Christian, but it is now time to grow up and handle things yourself.

You were never informed that the same Grace that saved you will sustain you forever to the day you arrive in Heaven and meet Jesus face to face.

It is all about how you look at things.

If you go back to worldly thinking to solve your problems, you will get the same results that you got before you were saved.  You now have the Mind of Christ.  You have His Holy Spirit in you.  You are God’s righteousness already.  You are complete in every way possible in the spirit.  The difficulty comes in when you forget this fact, and return to your old way of thinking and handling problems.  If it didn’t work the first thousand times you did it, why do you think it will suddenly change?

If you want to live the walk of Christ, you have to make Him your Lord of life, too.  When you commit to do that, you must teach your heart what the scriptures declare about you (See the list above).  The Spirit of God will help you write these truths on your heart.  As you read the scriptures, and pray, you will get revelation on how to change your heart to what Jesus has said is true of you.  To walk after Christ is to rest in His completed work.  You are a co-heir to the very throne of Heaven.  You are God’s beloved child. You are no longer guilty of any sin.  And the Spirit of God will change your mind about sin so that whatever sin you struggle with will become less important than your desire to walk after Christ.

If you are saved by the grace of God, you will also live in it, if you chose to.  It really is that simple.  It is all in what you chose to believe is true as regards what Jesus accomplished on the cross and his resurrection.

This is not a license to sin, either.  Grace is God’s ability to make you righteous in Christ.  Jesus’s righteousness in now YOUR righteousness.  You are righteous and holy before God.  Your desire for God will grow and your desire for sin will diminish.

It is also not about giving up anything, but learning how to enjoy the things God invented without perverting it as the world has done.

Change your heart, and your life will change.  It all depends on what you focus on.  Remember that it is written: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matt. 6:33

I became a Christian on October 27, 1986.  And for a while, life in Christ was amazing.  Then the world got in the way and I went back to my old way of thinking about it.  I did this because I was told that that is how it is when you become a Christian.

I was never taught that God’s saving grace IS God’s sustaining Grace.  Grace is from God, and is permanent once you have accepted Jesus as your lord and savior.

If all you wanted was the fire insurance and not the walk, fine.  But your life will be as miserable as it was before you were saved, and probably more so, as you are now a child of God refusing to learn from Him.

To be sustained in Grace (God’s ability), you have to learn to see the world and all things as God sees them.  You have to believe that what Christ accomplished at his death and resurrection is permanent, not just a one time deal.

I am new at this whole grace experience.  It took me 26 years to finally see that being a Christian didn’t work out for me simply because of what I believed was true about God.

God is not mad at you, he is not out to get you or punish you.  You are His beloved Child whom he loves.  Jesus already took on God’s wrath in Hell.  You no longer have to fear God.  He is now your real father.  And He loves you.

 When you slide back into your worldly view of things, you reject the gift Christ gave His life to give you.  (See the list above).  You are telling Christ that His grace is not good enough for you and that you need to take the wheel from here.

But if you really want to experience the sustaining grace, you need to make Jesus your Lord, too, and trust that what He has done for you is real, is now, and is permanent.  The Spirit of God will honor that faith and teach you how to manifest all the gifts of God in the material world.  THIS is, after all, why you were not raptured when you first believed.  We are to exist as Christ existed, and lead all men to salvation.

Like I said before, the difference between a victorious life in Christ and going back to your old life is all in what you believe to be true about the Grace of God.  It is always in you.  It is always with you.  Even when you sin, God’s love for you never departs from you, and your salvation is not taken away.  The ones who fall from grace are the ones who think works righteousness will please God and make him love you.  You are already loved by God and He finds absolutely no fault in you.  This is all because you have accepted what Jesus did for you.

I may be new to this whole Grace thing.  I was raised in a very legalistic tradition by the Southern Baptists.  I went to a Southern Baptist Seminary.  But like Paul, I count all that as so much “dung” (Insert your own preferred aphorism here).  Compared to the amazing Grace of God and the truth that it reveals to my heart, nothing else matters.  The changes this has made in my life has been so powerful that many people have commented on what a completely different human I am.  That is also true.  My old self died when Jesus died.  My new self rose, righteous before God, when Jesus arose from the dead.  I simply needed to understand what all that meant.

So, yes, the sustaining Grace of God is the exact same thing as the grace that saved you.  One happened in a single point of time, and the other is just the same grace walking through time sustaining you, if you will accept the truth of the Scriptures.

Change your mind and change your life.  God’s grace is really all you need to walk in the likeness of Christ.  If you received Him as your savior and want to experience His sustaining Grace, then change what you believe about being saved.

Let’s be about it.

I love you,

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

Transition States – Leaving My ‘Old time Religion’ and Learning to Walk in Grace.


New Creation

Transition States

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”  Ezekiel 36:26 NASB

DEFINITIONS:

Masoretic Text of Ezekiel 36:26

וְנָתַתִּ֤י לָכֶם֙ לֵ֣ב חָדָ֔שׁ וְר֥וּחַ חֲדָשָׁ֖ה אֶתֵּ֣ן בְּקִרְבְּכֶ֑ם וַהֲסִ֨רֹתִ֜י אֶת־לֵ֤ב הָאֶ֨בֶן֙ מִבְּשַׂרְכֶ֔ם וְנָתַתִּ֥י לָכֶ֖ם לֵ֥ב בָּשָֽׂר׃

Reverse Interlinear

“Moreover, I will give” – nathan – gift (A form of the word GRACE.)  – to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend

“You a new” – chadash – new, new thing, fresh

“heart” – leb – Outline of Biblical Usage

  1. inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

    1. inner part, midst
      1. midst (of things)
      2. heart (of man)
      3. soul, heart (of man)
      4. mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
      5. inclination, resolution, determination (of will)

      6. conscience
      7. heart (of moral character)
      8. as seat of appetites

      9. as seat of emotions and passions

      10. as seat of courage

“spirit” – ruwach – 

  1. wind, breath, mind, spirit

    1. Spirit of God, the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son
      1. as inspiring ecstatic state of prophecy
      2. as impelling prophet to utter instruction or warning
      3. imparting warlike energy and executive and administrative power
      4. as endowing men with various gifts
      5. as energy of life
      6. as manifest in the Shekinah glory

      7. never referred to as a depersonalised force

“within” quereb – midst, among, inner part, middle

  1. inward part

    1. physical sense

    2. as seat of thought and emotion

    3. as faculty of thought and emotion

“and I will remove” – cuwr – (Pronounced ‘suwr’) –

  1. to turn aside, depart

    1. (Qal)

      1. to turn aside, turn in unto
      2. to depart, depart from way, avoid

      3. to be removed

      4. to come to an end

    2. (Polel) to turn aside

    3. (Hiphil)
      1. to cause to turn aside, cause to depart, remove, take away, put away, depose
      2. to put aside, leave undone, retract, reject, abolish
    4. (Hophal) to be taken away, be removed

 

“stone” – ‘eben – perverse, hard heart

“flesh” – basar –

  1. flesh

    1. of the body
      1. of humans
      2. of animals
    2. the body itself

    3. male organ of generation (euphemism)
    4. kindred, blood-relations
    5. flesh as frail or erring (man against God)

    6. all living things

    7. animals
    8. mankind

English (NASB)   [?] Strong’s Root Form (Hebrew)

“Moreover, I will give

h5414 נָתַן nathan

you a new

h2319 חָדָשׁ chadash
heart h3820 לֵב leb
and put h5414 נָתַן nathan
a new h2319 חָדָשׁ chadash
spirit h7307 רוּחַ ruwach

within

h7130 קֶרֶב qereb
you; and I will remove h5493 סוּר cuwr
the heart h3820 לֵב leb

of stone

h68 אֶבֶן ‘eben
from your flesh h1320 בָּשָׂר basar

and give

h5414 נָתַן nathan

you a heart

h3820 לֵב leb
of flesh. h1320 בָּשָׂר basar

36:26  καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν καρδίαν καινὴν καὶ πνεῦμα καινὸν δώσω ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ ἀφελῶ τὴν καρδίαν τὴν λιθίνην ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς ὑμῶν καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν καρδίαν σαρκίνην

Thank you for dredging through all those definitions.  It may be a stretch to prove a point, but I wanted to make sure the point was understood based on what the bible is actually saying.  BASICALLY this verse is saying that GOD will take away my mind, will, heart, understanding, and place inside me HIS mind, will, heart, understanding, and remove my dead spirit and replace it with HIS living and holy spirit.

I have been going through radical changes in my thinking (To change your thinking,  means to repent, and to repent is to change your thinking).

Here is what happened: I prayed.

I prayed that God remove from me every thing that stands between me and Him.  I confessed I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God, and that Christ died on the cross for my sin (He BECAME all sin, and God judged HIM for being sin, and He died).  Then He, being sin, was cast into hell.  But while He was there, He was brought back to life in the transfigured form that the apostles saw on the streets three days later.  He did all this so that I would not have to die.  He did this so all law and prophecy will be fulfilled.  He did this so that, instead of we humans souls having to suffer the complete wrath of God, we inherited eternal life instead.  I prayed that God remove anything and everything that stands between me and Him.

If you have been reading my poor blog, you know what happened.  If not, the reader’s digest version is that God answered my prayer.  Everything that could be removed from me was removed from me.  What I have left is a loving wife, a beautiful family, and the presence of God.  Oh, and we were able to keep our clothes and our car and our cats.

I digress, though.  I prayed.  My hearts desire is to know Christ and be like Him.  In the above verse, we learn many things.  We learn that it is NOT our selves that does the work.  It is God that does all the work.  My efforts not only get in the way, but prohibit God from working in me.  I know this is true because I have tried all my life to understand what it means to be like Christ.

This is where, recently, I found the difference between “Theology” and “Religious Dogma”.  Theology is simply “The knowledge of God”.  “Religious Dogma” is self explanatory, but I will expound on it as we go.

Albert Einstein once said, “I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.”  That is where I stand.  That is basically where I have always stood.  I was raised in a very traditional, large, protestant religion.  Where this religion’s dogma aligned with the doctrines of God, we were taught the doctrines of God.  Where they differed, we were taught a very skewed religious bias, a dogma that placed more importance on our religion and our religious movement than on the will of the Living God through Christ Jesus.  We were basically renting the parts of scripture that suited us, and changed the understanding of the rest.   This kind of dogma replaces a genuine understanding of the Living God, via the work of the Holy Spirit, and replaces it with man’s interpretation of God and His role in the Universe, Life, and our selves.

But the promise of God is that HE will do this work, and HE will replace my corrupted thoughts with HIS thoughts, His will, HIS understanding of things, His Spirit will be my new life as I was dead in my spirit.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB

God took out all my dead junk and replaced it with HIS life.  Literally.  His name is Jesus.

But religious dogma taught me a knowledge ABOUT God, based on evaluations derived from external observation…a what you see is the sum of the knowledge of God.  It emphasized imitating Christ by MY strength, and not resting in the Lord.

Theology, real theology, describes, instead, an intimate knowledge of God.  It is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  The intimacy is more profound than the intimacy between lovers.    It is attained only when you have accepted the free gift of Salvation brought by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The religious dogma I was taught was simply a mental knowledge of the scriptures.  It was a cerebral understanding of what Christ accomplished through His life, Death and Resurrection.  To reinforce all this knowledge, we studied, in depth, the writings of the Church Leaders (By that I mean, mostly the leaders of our religion, and, where they applied, the writings of all the commentaries and letters of all the historical Church Leaders.)  If there was a commentary that did not quite line up with our dogma, it was either ignored or explained away.  It is called “rationalizing”.

God never said we are to rationalize our faith.  He asked us to come and reason with Him.  HE will make us clean.  He will do all the work.  He and He alone can accomplish in us all the works that He promised.

All the self-inflicted rules and dogma of my former religion were emphasized in the light of the idea that WE must do all WE can to be like Christ.  We were taught many amazing things that remained in our heads, but never reached our hearts.  This Head Knowledge is a walk that relies on self-enforced rules.  This affliction is the religious dogma that has turned every person on earth away from Christ.  It has proven over time that all it does is  condemn you, and try to force you to behave in a way that is not in your nature.  It disregards the fact that our flesh (Heart, Mind, Soul, Will) is at war with God.  It is a self reliance that works only for a little while until we fatigue of doing something that is not in us to do in the first place.

In the opening verse, we see that these changes can only be done by God, according to His will, through His spirit.  This is done when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” II Corinthians 5:17 NASB

When we rest in the completed work of Christ, we are no longer guilty.  We are no longer in sin.  We are no longer in rebellion against God.  We are NEW creatures.  And the changes that are made start from the inside, not the outside.  They are a vine that, as we grow in Christ Likeness, produce the fruit of the spirit.

Where religious dogma emphasizes a memorized set of rules that force you to rely on yourself to fulfill, the Knowledge of God, through a changed mind, heart, and spirit in Christ, emphasizes the work of God in you through the Holy Spirit.  You receive as a gift the Mind of Christ.  You receive as a gift the will of God.  You receive as a gift the total forgiveness of all your sin.  This fruit of the Spirit will eventually manifest itself outwardly as you make the transition inwardly.

I am writing about this now because I am in that transition state.  I am leaving a dead life of works based faith behind, and am transitioning into a life of faith based walk in Christ.  The biggest difference, besides the change of heart, the change of attitude, the change in the way you view the world, is, you no longer walk in sin and rebellion, and it becomes effortless as you begin to rest in the completed work of Christ.  You can still sin, but the more of the Mind of Christ you allow the Spirit of God to reveal to you, the less you will want to sin.

I no longer have to try, by my own strength, to be like Christ.  Christ is transitioning me from where I was to where He wants me to be.

This does not make God’s Grace a license to sin, but the freedom from the sin nature.  All I have to do is accept, in my heart, what the Word of God says about the accomplished work of Christ.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, I hope this tome will encourage you to change your mind about the knowledge of God.  Your religious dogma will not get you very far.  It only makes sin more exciting than knowing God.  Even Atheists have a religious dogma and a religious fervor.

I will write more on the details of Grace that brought about this transition.  It is difficult, only in the respect that I have to overcome a lot of my old thinking and believing patterns, and accept the thoughts of Christ.  Faith becomes reality.  No matter what you think about, that is what you become and receive,  It is a universal principle.  Faith in Christ will bring you a new life far beyond anything you ever imagined.  I know this because this is what is happening to me.

I am in the transition state that exists between my religious dogma, and my new walk in Christ.

Care to join me?

Let’s be about it.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

 

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Faith

It Doesn’t Matter


Grace is SufficientII CORINTHIANS 5:17 HCSB   “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

What’s New?

if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;”    

Jesus made it clear that, if we have rejected Him, we are already dead, “Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” John 3:18 HCSB

We are dead before we accepted Christ.  We are cut off from God.  We have no home in Heaven, no hope of eternal life.   We are still born entities who have not been given the gift of eternal life via the Holy Spirit.  We are already dead.

There is a familiar saying that, “Jesus did not come here to make bad people good, but to make dead people live.”  I have no idea who said this, so I cannot give attribution.

Jesus came here to die so that I can live.  When Jesus was nailed to the cross, all the law of sin was nailed to the cross.  The law existed to demonstrate that it is impossible for me to obey God on my own power.   Jesus put “finished” to the law when He was nailed to the cross, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. “ Col 2:14

All the reasons that people can think of, all the accusation that Satan accuses you with, any right anyone had to find fault with you was put to death the moment you accepted Him.  Furthermore, sin itself no longer has command over you.  When you accepted Christ, the Spirit of God immediately came to you, moved in to your body, your mind, your life, and brought YOU to life in Christ.

Jesus became sin, and died of it, took it to Hell with him and paid the full penalty for it.  All sin was put to death and no longer has any authority over you.  The only power sin has, now, is whatever you give it.  The good news here is, now that the Spirit of God lives in you, you have all the resources of Heaven to help you overcome sin.

BUT WHAT ABOUT MY PAST?

old things have passed away

When you accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift, your past died with Christ.  Your new life was created when He rose from the dead.  Your acceptance of this completed work put to death your old self.  “…having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions” Col 2: 12-13 NASB

When you accepted Jesus’s sacrifice for you, you were buried with him in death, and the new creation that arose from the dead is the new creation that now lives in you.

Your past is just that, the past.

I know, I know, everyone else still treats me as if I am the old me.  That is OK.  People will eventually see that you are no longer that person.  This takes time and patience.  The new life you will live will be a product of Christ living in you.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20 NASB

You died.  Christ lives in you, now.  Your old self is dead.

Yes, you still have memories of the past, but they no longer have power over you.   The Spirit of God lives in you, now.  Allow the Spirit of God to work in you to change you into the likeness of Christ.  You have to forgive your past.  God already did.

The past has just as much hold over you as you let it.  Forgive your past.  People change very slowly, but they will change.  As evidence of your new life dawns on others, you will be treated differently.  Let time and patience do their jobs.

GOD LIVES IN YOU

The greatest thing that you will learn is, now that you are born into the Kingdom of Heaven, you are now an adopted child of God.  “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15 NASB

Fear of punishment for your past can go away now.  You are no longer a slave to your past, so you can stop acting as if it has any influence over you.  It died when you died.  You died when you accepted the free gift of salvation.  It is now Christ that lives in you.  You are His brother.  God is now your father.

I John 4:15 says that God abides in you, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

QUALITY OF LIFE

This new life, this “Zoe” as it is said in the scriptures, is not just living, it defines a new quality of life.  Your life changes because you are a new born creature.  Where you didn’t exist, you now exist in Heaven.  Zoe is not just a life form, but a new life form that has a new quality of life.  This quality of life manifests itself in you as you grow in Christ.

We are possessed of this quality the second we are born.  All that God is, has, and gives, lives in you.  It is your inheritance.  The fullness of the Kingdom of God is yours, now, today, because you were born into the kingdom of Heaven.

YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Sin used to be your master.  This is no longer true of you.  Where you were once dead in your sin, sin now only has the power over you that you allow it to have.  But, even then, the Grace of God covers our sin.  We do not abuse this grace, but have access to it so that we can be continually made into the righteousness of Christ.  Christ’s righteousness lives in us.  It becomes manifest in us when we realize we are free from the curse of sin.

Being free from sin is not comprised of a list of “Don’ts”.  The influence of the Spirit of God will show you a view of sin that you never had before.  Sin does not become a list of don’ts, but a fact of “Don’t want to”.  Sin no longer will have the power over you that it used to have.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”  Romans 6:1-8

Before we were born again, we had no righteousness.  Now, we are alive in Christ, and HIS righteousness lives in us.  He did this for us, so we cannot brag about it.

IT NO LONGER MATTERS WHAT EVERYONE ELSE THINKS

In God’s eyes, you are His child.  In His eyes, you are complete.  You are loved and lovely.  You are whole and pure.  When you accepted this free gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection, you were born into the Kingdom of Heaven complete in every way.

The world may not recognize what God has done in you.  But as you submit to Him, by the power of His spirit, God will make manifest in your life all the riches of His Kingdom.  He will do this in you as you humble yourself before the Lord: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”  James 4:10

Don’t let people convince you that you are not His.  Don’t talk yourself into going back to your old life.  Let the power of the Living God work in you.  It is written that a broken and contrite heart, God will not despise.  It takes you emptying you of yourself and allowing the completed work of God, that is in you, to be made manifest in your life.

No one can take this away from you.

Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

No one can rob you of your God-given gift of life and abundant living unless you allow it.   Abide in the word, abide in the love of God.  Let the power of the Spirit of God rule in your life.

I promise, you will see life and live life differently than you ever knew was possible.  The problems you think you have today, will be manageable because you will see them in the light of the Love of God, and His wisdom.  Many of the problems you have today will stop being problems because God will change your heart.

Where the law of sin said “You can’t”, Jesus and the power of His resurrection says, “I DID!”.

Where guilt and the world and Satan says, “You are a failure”, Jesus says, “My success is YOUR success, recieve it and walk in it.”

Where the Accuser says, “You are guilty!”, Jesus said, “You are innocent.”

The love and power of God abides in you.  Fear and sin no longer rules your life.  What God has placed in you cannot be removed.  God wants to make His power and life manifest in you.  As you seek Him, and pray, and search His word, and believe, the life God has placed inside you will be known to the rest of the world.

Chose you this day whom you will serve…

Let’s be about it.

I Love You

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Our Position in Christ – Christ is the Center


Walk as Children of LightI have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 

Galatians 2:20 NASB

Central to the Christian faith is this one fact:  Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.  God sent the Son to fill the law.  That law is that the wages of sin is death.  Jesus died on the cross, nailing the law to the cross.  If you read yesterday’s blog, “Our Position in Christ” you read that our sin died with Christ in Hell.  If you accept this mystery, you understand that your sin was put to death when Christ was put to death, as He became Sin and took on the wrath of God in our place.   Where you were dead in your sin, and had no hope of salvation, you are now alive, you are born again.

You are saved when you believe with all your heart:  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “ John 3:16 NASB

If you do not accept this free gift, you are still dead: “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  John 3:18 NASB

You are not condemned after you reject Him.  You are already condemned because you have not yet accepted Him.  This is true because all humans are born dead in sin. We are born cut off from fellowship with the Living God.

Accepting this free gift is what it means to be born again.  You are born in the spirit of God.  You are now a child of God.

CRUCIFIED IN CHRIST

Your old life was put to death.  Just as Jesus proved he has power over sin and death, the Spirit of God moves in you to prove that the same things are dead to you, too.  All life before Christ was dead life.  Because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead nowlives in you, you are a new creation, and the power of the Living God resides in you, giving you real life.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  II Corinthians 5:17 NASB

Your self was put to death, and the Spirit of God now lives in you.

NO LONGER I, BUT CHRIST

Contrary to popular opinion, salvation is not a community project, nor does it rely on a corporate salvation.  Salvation is as individual as each fingerprint.  No church, committee, group, or government will be there when you are standing before God.   If you are saved, you, as an individual, can claim that you no longer live, but Christ lives in you.

The same power that lived and worked in Jesus Christ is the same power that lives and works in you.  This power will guide you to make you into the Character of Christ.

Ephesians 2:4-6 explains – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus ” 

The same power that raised Jesus up now lives in you.

THE LIFE YOU NOW LIVE

A changed life is what happens when you genuinely accept this free gift of salvation.  The Spirit of God will work in you to help you overcome the life you left behind.  A changed life is the first evidence the world has to see that the power of God lives in you.  You cannot do this on your own.  If it were possible to do this, there would have been no need of the sacrifice of Christ. We do not have the ability or power to live a sinless life, or a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  Only the Spirit of God living in you can do that.

Things will change.  This is not a works based theology.  This is simply a fact of the power of the spirit of God.  You will change from inside.  The things that did appeal to you, will no longer have that appeal.  The sin that you enjoyed will not have that power over you any more.  This may mean you will lose friends, but it also means you gain new ones.

Because the Spirit of God lives in you, you will no longer be compelled to live any way you wish, but you will desire to live a life that is pleasing to God.  This is also not something you can do for yourself.  It is a gift of God.

Your faith in God, your faith in the Saving Grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is what will live in you.

IDENTITY

We were identified with death before Christ became our Savior and Lord.  Now that you are saved, your identity has changed.  When God sees you, He sees His own beloved child.  You are no longer dead to Him.  The blood of Jesus paid the price of your separation from Him, and you now enjoy open and complete communion with Him.

Romans 8:2 states you are free from the law of Sin and Death – “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”

Your old identity, the “Old Self” as it is referred to in Scripture, is dead.  The new man, the Spirit of God, lives in you.  “…since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-…”

Your identity is now in Christ.  This is the new self.

THE MAIN THING

Being saved is not about a religion.  it is about a relationship to God because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  The main thing is that it is all about Jesus.  We were not raptured the second we believed because we are to be made into the character of Christ so that others will be saved..

CHRIST IS THE CENTER

Central to our faith is Jesus Christ.  Everything past, present, and future is about Jesus Christ, and what He has done to redeem mankind.  When we are born again, Christ is the center of our existence.  The Spirit of God will move in you to create in you a character that you could not create in yourself.  That character will be the character of Christ.  That character will lead you to do the things of Christ so that others will come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, too.

The things you will accomplish because of this new character will be things that are pleasing to God.  Your old self is dead.  You no longer have to live like that again.  The things that were once important to you will no longer be that important.  The more you get into the Word of God (The Bible), and pray, and fellowship with other Christians, the more you will discover your desires will become the desires of God for you.

Keep Christ as your center, and you will grow.  Lay aside all the things that get in the way of your walk with Him.  Pray, read the word, and grow.  Your life doesn’t really begin until you have accepted Christ as your savior.   When you do that, you will discover He is also Lord over your life.  He will lead you places that you never thought were possible, and the life you live will be full, satisfying, and complete.

You will be made into the image of Christ.

WHO LOVED ME AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR ME

Jesus death on the cross was not just to defeat Satan.  It was not just to put the letter of the law on the cross.  It was to bring you life.   He did this because of His love for you.  He was holy and pure, and became sin and death, so you can have life and holiness. You were dead before you accepted Christ as your lord and savior.  Now you are alive.

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are already dead.  While your heart beats, let the Spirit of God move you to see what Christ has done for you.

We live because the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us.  This is the free gift…eternal life.

Let’s be about it.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Our Position in Christ – Introduction


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

“For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.”  Matt. 12:40 HCSB – Jesus

The law states:  “The Wages of Sin is Death”

The Law:

We read that the wages of Sin is death: Romans 6:23  This is the universal law of Sin.  Death is eternal separation from God.  Humans are born dead spiritually.  (See John 3:16 – 18).

Jesus came here to fulfill the requirement of the Law.  He died on the cross.  He said of Himself: “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”  Matt. 5:17 – HCSB

The Old Testament Law was given to prove that no effort of Man (Humans) can satisfy the law.  We are born into a sin nature.  We inherited that nature from first man, Adam:  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men,because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.”  Romans 5:12 – 14 HCSB

What the Law did was amplify the fact that there is sin.  The Law was nailed to the cross when He was nailed to the cross because He is the fulfillment of that law.  The law created a debt that no human could pay.  We couldn’t pay it because the Law proscribed that the sacrificial offering must be pure and blameless.  Jesus was pure and blameless.  He was tempted in all ways, like we are, but did not sin.

Paul says this of Jesus being nailed to the cross:  “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:14 HCSB

The Sin:

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? EPH 4:9

Jesus told the disciples that, like Jonah, who was in the belly of the fish for 3 days, He will be in the belly of the Earth for 3 days.  We are taught that Jesus, who was without sin, BECAME sin for our sake: “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21 HCSB

This is not a trivial point.  This is, in fact, the WHOLE POINT, isn’t it?

We are sinful by nature.  Look at the world around you, and try to convince me that sin does not exist.  If the only sin you ever committed was to tell a little white lie, then, there is sin.  There are no degrees of rebellion against God.  ALL sin is rebellion.

We inherited this sin nature from Adam.

Here is what gives Jesus His street creds.  He was blameless before God.  He was not guilty of any sin.  He CHOSE to come here, in the form of a human, and assume the burden of our sin because we were eternally damned unless the sin debt was paid.  Jesus, who IS life itself, took on the burden of death, so we, who are dead at birth, may have life in Him.

Jesus became sin.  He didn’t just accept the responsibility for our sin, although that is what He did; Jesus BECAME sin itself.

Think about this.  Think a long time, if you need to.  This is not trivial.  This is the center point around which all our hope and claim of Salvation rests.

Jesus became every sin.  He became the ugly things we do and say.  He became all the hate.  He became every rapist, every murderer, every evil thing that has ever existed and will exist.  He became the very engine that drives evil to do what evil does.  Every vile thought, every adultery, every greed, avarice, every sickness we have ever had or can imagine.  Jesus BECAME these things.

JESUS DESCENDED:

Jesus shouted out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”.  God will not look on sin.  God has no fellowship with evil. The only place evil has to go from there is hell.  And that is where Jesus went.

Having become all sin, all evil, all that is vile and full of reproach, Jesus descended into Hell.  He took on the full and complete wrath of God, and suffered the total separation of God.  There was no longer that sweet communion between Jesus and His Heavenly Father.  He was cut off.

Jesus became sin and absorbed and endured the complete wrath and torment of God’s judgement.  There were no angels there to help him.  The Holy Spirit was not there in Hell.  God was not there.  It was just Jesus.

Psalm 88 describes this event:
I am counted among those going down to the Pit.

I am like a man without strength,
abandoned among the dead.
I am like the slain lying in the grave,
whom You no longer remember,
and who are cut off from Your care.
You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit,
in the darkest places, in the depths.
Your wrath weighs heavily on me;
You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves.
Jesus was alone in Hell.  He was dead.  He gave up His purity to become a complete abomination to God and Man.  And Satan had a short-lived party.  This was the goal of Satan.  That the King of Glory should fail and die.  Jesus’ torment was complete.  He had completely emptied the cup of God’s wrath.  Sin had brought Him to death and Hell.
Psalm 88 says:

Lord, why do You reject me?

Why do You hide Your face from me?
From my youth,
I have been afflicted and near death.
I suffer Your horrors; I am desperate.
Your wrath sweeps over me;
Your terrors destroy me.
They surround me like water all day long;
they close in on me from every side.
You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me;
darkness is my only friend.

While Jesus was there, He remembered the promises of God…just as Jonas prayed in the belly of the whale, Jesus remembered God’s eternal promise.  If Jesus would become sin, and bear the wrath of God, for the sake of all humanity, then God will raise Him from the dead, and seat Him on the Right Hand of the Father.

On His own, clinging to the promises, in the face of the unmitigated wrath of God, Jesus remembered…

“…the Lord…He heard me, …thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2), “…I will look again to the Holy Temple.” (2:4), “…THOU BROUGHT UP MY LIFE…”(2:6)

And in the Psalm 16:10 – “For You will not abandon me to Sheol;  You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.”

While Jesus was remembering the promise, and praying, and crying out, the Spirit of God came to Him and brought Him back to life.  His soul had died for our sakes.  He was condemned and died.  But the Spirit of God came to Him in Hell and brought Him back.

While Jesus was there, He accomplished several things.

Jesus preached to the prisoners in Hell:

“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared.”

Then He took the keys of Hell from Satan, and in proving He has all authority over life and death, and owns the keys of Hell, He took the captives from Hell and set them free, all who believed.

Satan no longer has any authority over anything.  Any thing he does have, he takes from humans who are willing to give it to him.

When Jesus came out of Hell, He proved that He is the King of Glory and the owner of all life and death.

Jesus proved that He alone is the Lord of the Universe and rules over all things.

Jesus gave us all this free gift of His grace, this life, if we accept it.  We are not alive spiritually unless we accept this gift:

“Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: ‘When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.’

“But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. ”  EPHESIANS 4:7-10 HCSB

Our first free gift is LIFE.  We are brought from death into life when we accept this free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice.  He proved He has this authority.

If you have accepted this free gift, then you are saved.  Salvation is yours.

Jesus gave us all manner of gifts on His ascension.  If you have accepted this gift of salvation, Jesus wants to walk you into His lordship.  This is where we walk in many more gifts.

He turned us from the unrighteous to the righteous.  We have gone from being lost to being found.  This King of the Universe came here to do this for us, since we can not do this for ourselves.

The hardest thing for me to overcome, having received this new life, was the idea that I am no longer a slave.  I am not a slave to sin and death.  I am free from eternal damnation.  My guilt has been replaced with His love.  My shame has been replaced with His grace.  I have received His mercy.  And he has taken me by the hand and lifted me up and no longer calls me a slave.  I am His brother.  God is my Father.

THE CALLING OUT

When we accept this gift, we are immediately separated from the values of this world.  The Spirit of God will walk with us to teach us, convict us, and guide us into Christ likeness.

When you are saved, you are called.  The rest of this series will look at several of the gifts you have received from Him, so that you can answer this call.

The goal is that you will be made into the image and likeness of Christ.  You are called to bring others to the same saving knowledge of Christ as you have been given.  God equips whom He calls.

We are saved.  In God’s eyes, we are complete.  While we are still here on this earth, God intends to make manifest to the world, the completeness you have in Christ.

This series will look at the promises of your walk.

Let’s be about it.

I love you

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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King of the Hill


Crown of ThornsThere is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Ephesians 4:1-7 NASB

Have I ever known the truth of the gospels?  Have I brought to the word of God my “informed opinions” about religion, Christ, God , Salvation and Lordship only to see that they are broken on the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus Christ?  His word is true.  My opinion of His word is formed out of my seeing Him through a Glass Darkly.  But the Spirit of God, who dwells in me, gives me sight to see, and ears to Hear.  I am able to discern between Heavenly truth, and a false doctrine.

Have I been so caught up in all the false doctrines that have become modern evangelism, that I have lost sight of what is true, what is genuinely Holy, what is eternal?  Have I become so “Purpose Driven”, so “Seeker Sensitive”, so caught up in “Church Growth Evangelism” that I have forgotten the very words of Christ?  Have I gotten so caught up in the “Word of Faith” Movement that I have turned the King of Glory into a vending machine of my earthly desires?  Does my “Emergent Church” become so muddled that the sacrifice of Christ has been turned from a conviction of sin to “Christ is my buddy”, and you can believe what you want about him as long as we all get along?

Christ was speaking plainly when He said of Himself:  “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matt. 10:34 NASB

If I take my agenda, and use the scriptures to support that agenda, I make either myself a liar, or God.  The math is easy.  God is not a liar, as there is no hint of darkness in Him.  Jesus pointed out that Satan is the father of lies, and those who lie are his offspring.  Satan is not God.

Am I worried that I will offend people with my “dogmatic” view?  Not any more.  I had to come crashing against the hard truths of the Scriptures to learn that the Gospel according to Jesus will offend almost everyone who hears it.  My agenda has no place in His kingdom.  My purposes are no longer mine, not if Jesus Christ is truly my Lord.  If Jesus is my claim to salvation, I have to learn that, while I am positionally complete in God’s eyes, I am complete because the blood of Christ covers me, and the Holy Spirit is in me.

But in order that the unsaved, the dead in the world, can come to life, I have to let that completeness be made manifest in my earthly life.  I cannot do that and hang on to my pet theology.  As long as I insist that God has to agree with me, I am as big a liar and heretic as Satan is.

American Evangelism is doing all it can to lead people away from the real truths of the Gospel.  It eliminates the need for repentance, it makes Jesus your material slave to the benefit of your earthly delights.  It makes Jesus equal to all the other ways and theologies of the earth, as if “All Roads Lead To Heaven”.

Ours is an exclusive faith.  And it is a hard truth.  It is not a popularity contest.  It is not a truth derived by a consensus of the people.  It is not an excuse to live any way you want just because you have acknowledged that Jesus is real.

Jesus is the King.  He is the only way to heaven.  He rules and reigns throughout all the Heavens, and is returning to rule on this earth.

 He is the King of the Hill by virtue of the Hill He chose to Die on.  He said to anyone who will call Him Lord:    “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  – Matt: 16: 24-26 NASB

That is not a warm fuzzy, people, but that IS what the Lordship of Christ insists on.  He is the King of Glory, and the Lord of Hosts.  This is a hard lesson for me, but it is what my Lord insists on.

   Lift up your heads, O gates,

            And be lifted up, O ancient doors,

That the King of glory may come in!

        Who is the King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
The LORD mighty in battle.

      Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!

      Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

Psalm 24: 7-10 NASB

Lets be about it!

I love you in the Name of Jesus Christ, My Lord and Savior.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Surprised by Giving


I heard a great message today by Michael Yousef.  http://www.leadingtheway.org/  “Surely Not Me … And Definitely Not Them

It is definitely worth a listen.  You can read my babbling later.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Heb 13:2

Grace is SufficientThe really nice thing that is coming out of my circumstances is, God is using my circumstances to pare me down to what I really believe, to seek that which I do not understand (About God), and to test the things I claim I believe.

One of the big tests and refining fires of God is to see if what I say I believe is: A. Godly (Is there a genuine Biblical basis for what I claim?), B. Not just in my head…”knowledge puffeth up.”  Does this belief actually live in my heart. Does it walk, or just talk? C. Where this knowledge is weak, that I get opportunities to apply it in the “real” world.  Nothing defines you better than your circumstances and opportunities those circumstances offer, to be like Jesus.  In my weakness to obey, God is my strength to be obedient.  That is when it lives in my heart.

I find the answers to:

Do I live the commands of Jesus Christ, to love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and my strength, and do I actually love my neighbor as much as I love myself?

Do I have the strength of character to take my eyes off my circumstances and look the Lord straight in the eyes?  Do I have the courage to live out my love and faith in the midst of my circumstances?

I read in the Bible:  “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”  Luke 6:38 KJV

Here is a conviction that is being driven into my soul.  That verse says that I am to give.  It is an active tense verse that calls for immediacy of action.  It begs a large question of me.  Am I ever ready, and ever-present in my observation of life that I am waiting for the opportunity to give?   If I give, am I being genuine in my love toward that person, or am I doing it out of “religious obligation”?  When I give, have I already begun adding to my ledger the anticipation of getting something in return?

Why do I give?

My prayer is that God use the Holy Spirit to make me into the very character and likeness (I know, that was redundant), of Jesus Christ.  He gave for two reasons:  1. Obedience, and 2. Love of God, and Love of Mankind.  His LOVE is what led to His obedience.  It was not a religious obligation, it was a genuine act of grace and love and mercy.  He gave what He was rich in.  He gave sacrificially.

Here is the big point God is trying to bore into my very thick skull.  Give out of love.  Give what you have.  Jesus Himself did not have a home.  He lived off the kindness of strangers, sinners, and the disciples.  But what He did have, he gave even unto death.

Now comes the hard part.  Being unemployed means not having the goodies I had when I was employed.  And there may come a day soon, that I will be homeless.  My Debtors are calling daily, some are suing, and, even though I have over 100 applications out there, I am getting crickets.

Here is WHY I am sharing this intimate detail with you:  Those are my circumstances.  I can tell you exactly what I would have done in my Pre-Christian life.  I would have panicked, paced the floor, gotten angry and taken it out on my loved ones, and generally would have made an ass of myself.

What God is teaching me in these circumstances is that, He is able to carry me, and continue to change my character into the character of Christ.

So now comes the test.

Do I get so involved in how unlucky I am, how I am a loser because I am unemployed, because I cannot even buy my family the very basics of life?  Am I so wrapped up in my apparently overwhelming circumstances that I forget that I am being made into the image of Christ?

This morning, while the Spirit of God was showing me these things, He asked me, am I willing to give as Christ gave?  Of course, in my best legalistic, and Hyper-Calvinist voice, I reminded the Spirit, I have NOTHING!  What can I give?  I have to beg for just the basics of life!

It was then he reminded me that I belong to God.  I belong because of the Salvation that I have accepted in Jesus Christ.  God is teaching me, through my circumstances, that I can give to others even though I have “nothing”. What I do have is a lot of time and my body.

I have a heart that God has healed.  I have a mind and heart for the downtrodden, that I never knew existed.  I have eyes that can see the differences between a taker and a person in genuine need.  When I see opportunities, do I respond with the Love of Christ, or do I keep my head down, my eyes averted, and focus on my own problems.  Are MY circumstances more important that the Love of God?

Am I afraid to trust God that, when I approach a stranger, my giving will be a blessing from God?, That HE will be my courage, and my blessing? That it is HIs desire that I be just like His Son? Do I trust God that He will empower me and make me able?

Jesus becomes manifest in our lives when we obey Him, out of Love, and desire to be like Him.  It is not a duty.  It is not a forced obligation.  It is an external expression of the Love of Christ being revealed in my heart.  It becomes a gift from Christ when I give it to a person who happens to need a smile, a kind word, or a blessing.

My sins were very many.  Do I love others with the same gratitude and joy that I love God for my forgiveness?

I have hands:  I can open a door with a smile and a “God Bless You”.  I can carry a package for someone, while I show love to that someone.

I have a heart:  The Spirit of God will reveal to me the ones He wants me to touch, and when I am in doubt, I will touch anyway.  Love and Grace and Mercy are more fresh and delightful when given with reckless abandon.  It doesn’t mean you are stupid for going where no one else will go.  It means you trust God to carry you because you are giving away the love God has shown you.

I have feet:  I can walk however far it takes to help someone.

I have the Love of Christ:  He said He has not come into the world to judge the world, but to save it.  Do I look on the helpless, the needy, the lost, the ones who are lost in their circumstances, just to judge them unfit for my love, my mercy, my grace, my gift?  Or do I see an opportunity to share the Joy, love, mercy, and grace God has shown me?

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  Luke 7:47 NKJV  The words of Jesus

Is my heart so hardened by my circumstances, or my “Religious Wisdom”,  that I cannot see that it is my arrogance God is trying to cure?  My sense of self-righteousness is broken on the rocks of those in need.  My heart is being molded into the Character of Christ when I step out of my circumstances and learn to give, even out of my need.

“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.”  Luke 7:44-46 NKJV  – The Words of Jesus

Am I really willing to do for others what I say I am willing to do for Jesus?

I can push a shopping cart that an elderly person is struggling with.  I can put a shopping cart away for a soccer mom who is harried by her circumstances.  I don’t know what God is doing in her life, but maybe, just maybe, my act of kindness will be that one act that God uses to help her turn a corner.

We do not know what we are doing when we are urged to show kindness to a stranger.  That stranger may be at a breaking point that my kindness will heal.  This is a gift from God, and not of my own doing.  A smile is medicine.  A hug is security to someone so lost in their circumstances that they believe they are alone.  Giving will soften a hard heart, both mine and theirs.  Love has turned my cynicism into a willingness to believe that Jesus’ love will be translated to another person when I demonstrate it.

Am I willing to give love to the unlovely?  Am I willing to give my time for someone I cannot even stand being around?  It is easy for me to help people I love, or even like.  It takes Christ in me to help me to love my enemies, pray for those who spitefully use me.  It takes the courage only Love of Christ in you generates to kneel down and give water to someone who may be out to ruin you.  Doing this in love is a blessing to them, and will soften their heart.  Given for any other reason is poison.

My friend from England, an Engineer, used to tell me that I am such a jack-ass that I kick the door down, shoot everyone in the room, THEN try to determine who the bad guy is.  He was right.  Now, can God turn that behavior into someone who is willing to open the door, and give to everyone in the room, despite who is worthy of the gift?  Yes.  He can, He does and He will.

Do I wait for the Big moments.  Do I want to be Moses, and be known as the friend of God?  Do I want the lime light?  Do I want the return on the gift instead of being willing to give out of my need?

I know myself well enough to know that I am always looking for the big moments.  God will fill me with His love, grace and mercy, but my understanding of its significance is revealed in my behavior.  Is there enough evidence to convict me of being like Jesus?

I praise God that I lost my job, if learning these things is what it takes to make me aware of the power and love of God.

My Prayer:  My Heavenly Father. I praise your name.  I glory in your mercy and grace.  I pray, Lord, that you take all of us “Religious Bigots” and turn us into the very image of Christ.  This especially applies to me.  I am grateful you are turning my lip service into a real walk.  I confess that I only had a head knowledge of you, before these circumstances.  I glory that you love me enough to discipline me.  I am grateful that, instead of casting me aside as completely lost, you sought me out to redeem me.

Glory to God.  I praise your name.  You are the helper of the hopeless, and the defender of the weak.  You are my Lord.   Jesus is my Savior and my Lord.  Thank you for turning my heart of stone into a heart that loves.  Keep me constantly in your eyes, and deliver me from my own foolishness.

I pray because I am bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, and am redeemed by His sacrifice.

Amen

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  I Cor 6: 19 – 20

Jesus did not come into the world to make bad people good.  He came here to make dead people live.

Let’s be about it!

I love you,

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

Revealed Truth, or Religious Bigotry?


Holy Pottery‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’  Jeremiah 29:11-14 NASB

I have not written in the last few days.  I had to ask myself some hard questions.  One of those questions was:  “Am I showing the truth, or being a religious bigot?”

An opportunity to answer this question presented itself, today.  So, now I can tell you what I have learned.  I am not going to bore you with my testimony.  Let my current life be my testimony.  And I am a work in progress.  But over these past two weeks, I have been struggling with how dogmatic my writing sounds.

I am by God‘s grace, and training, a researcher, and an analyst.  I am very good at it too.  I will not bore you with this, either.  I say it so I can tell you this:

The difference between a researcher and a religious bigot is, the religious bigot will not accept that any other point of view, other than his own, is true.  He will be so dug in that he cannot, and will not, even entertain conversation that will allow a different point of view.

The Religious Bigot believes that his answer, even if it contradicts hard evidence, or Jesus Himself, is actually the correct one.  And the contradiction against Christ does not present a mental conundrum to him, either.  The religious bigot will plot the curve then try to find data that supports it, or will bend the existing data to force it to agree with it.  He has the answer before he knows the question.  In his heart, he has cut out several things Christ has had to say about Himself, Salvation, and what it really means to follow Him.

A researcher will look at as much evidence he can find.  He will weigh the evidence.  He will let the evidence speak for itself. He will suspend his biases in order to see if something is hidden in the data that he would otherwise not choose to see.  Even if that data represents a major threat to his understanding of things, he will look.  If the shock doesn’t kill him, he will adapt to that truth.  He knows the difference between a truth and an opinion of a truth, even in his own mental frame-work.

I have spent, literally, all my life researching and studying as many religions as I could find.  I even attended many of their religious meetings in order to get a better understanding of them.

All my research has driven me back to some very basic truths.  This has shown me the difference between what you call a fundamentalist and what I call a fundamentalist.   A fundamentalist, in any religion, has boiled his faith down to things that are the bottom line of his faith.  The American definition of a fundamentalist is actually the definition of a religious bigot.

Here was the hard part.  There is only so much the human mind can comprehend when it comes to spiritual matters.  There comes a time when you must rely on faith and hope.

In Christianity, I have discovered that, the gift of Faith comes from God alone.  And when I rely on it, I am shown things that have been right in front of me all along, but did not have “The Third Eye” opened to it, yet.

Being a researcher, I am open to every possible interpretation of any event that you can imagine.  I know that, if I have the truth, nothing can remove it from my heart.  However interesting and entertaining that journey into another viewpoint is, I can test it against the baseline of revealed truth, and know it for what it is.

Am I dogmatic?  Absolutely.  What I have been writing about all this time is directly from the scriptures.  There is no room for my opinion of it, or my interpretation of it.  It is the truth as Jesus and the Apostles, and God have revealed it in the scriptures.

As a researcher, I want to hear other views.  I am not afraid of differing opinions, or what others think is revealed truth.  I can do this without my ego being attached to it because I have learned, in my return to Christ that “Truth is its own witness, and Time is the Judge of all truths.”

I am dogmatic over the things I have delved into, and have seen for myself are true.  There are things that are true that I could never discuss in a church or over a pulpit.  I have learned the hard way that, even though it is the truth, most people cannot fathom that it is true.  I have discovered that, even things that are mentioned in the Bible are outright rejected by most American Christians.

But what I know, I must write about..  What I write about are truths as revealed in Scripture, and how God has applied it to my life, and my wife’s life.  We are in total agreement over these things.  We arrived at this over very different routs. She is my partner and my love, and we walk together in our calling.

WHAT THIS BOILS DOWN TO

It is a heart condition that will keep us from growing to be like Christ.

When you are saved, spiritually, you are complete.  The Holy Spirit marks you as being a child of the Living God because of your faith, IN YOUR HEART, that Jesus Christ is who he said he is, and did what he said he will do.  Your faith was born in your heart, after God placed the seed of faith in you.

Spiritually, you are complete.  There is nothing lacking in you spiritually.

The reason you were not raptured when you were saved, is so that that spirit can take over your heart.

Here is a good explanation of this:

THE CONDITION OF THE HUMAN HEART

In Scripture, the heart is the seat of indwelling sin as well as its subject. It is from the heart that indwelling sin springs in a person’s experience. Indeed, sin has invaded as an enemy and now possesses the very throne of God himself. So says the preacher:

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This is the unfortunate thing about everything that happens on earth: the same fate awaits everyone; The hearts of all people are full of evil, and there is madness in their hearts during their lives—then they die.

This is a very good description of the heart.  When you are saved, you are complete in the eyes of GOd.  This is because the Holy Spirit now dwells in you.  However,  “When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world, and show where right and wrong and judgment lie. He will convict them of wrong…”  John 16:8 (NEB).  (Click the link, you will find a very well written article that covers this topic in-depth).

Being complete in the spirit is why you are saved.  But the heart has to be Cleaned out of all its old habits.  It is the heart that contains all our sin, impulses, evil and wayward living.  If you really want to grow to be like Jesus, you cannot stay content being complete in the spirit, you will want God to do His heart surgery on you.  Even if you know it might hurt.

I strongly recommend this book if you want a complete study of why this cleaning is part of the Grace of God:

“Grace: The Power To Change”, by Dr. James B. Richards, 1993 ISBN: 0-924748-07-9  Look it up at your favorite book dealer.  CDB carries it.

So, if I am a dogmatic about anything, I am dogmatic about the lessons I have had to learn, by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in my life.  It is hard work, and it comes only as we are willing to submit to these changes. It is a work I was never willing to do myself.  But the Spirit of God compels me to submit to a work only He can do in me.

The fact that I am willing to change according to the will of God proves I am not being a religious bigot.  I am very open to any change the Spirit of God needs to make in me so that I will end up being just like Christ, my Lord.  I am willing to sacrifice anything and everything I love and hold dear, if it is what God needs me to do, if it will mean I get to be like Jesus.  That especially includes all the hidden matters of my heart.

You must be willing to have your heart changed.  Eventually the Spirit of God will tire of you quenching it.  If, in your wisdom (Translates to Arrogance),  you want to delude yourself into thinking that you do not need to change your heart, fine.  My invitation is only to those who, like me, have  discovered the Lordship of Christ.  Jesus is more than a Savior.  In order to understand the Lordship of Christ, a Christian must be teachable, and allow the Holy Spirit, not your opinion, to be the teacher.

Lets Be About It.

I love you,

David Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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