Let Me Tell You a Story – Be Thankful

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

A year ago, we entered the covid 19 pandemic era, with mass hysteria, mixed communications, multiple fears and major stress.  So many nights, we went to bed sensing a terror, a sense of foreboding, and yet all in my family have kept our employment, survived the pandemic, and experienced the mercy of God in our lives.

I want to tell you of a friend, who I want to be like when I grow up.  He is a humble man, and I will not seek to embarrass him by using his name, other than calling him JB.

JB is a brother I met while attending a sunday school class, him being the teacher of it.  It was a great class, since I came into it with a number of beliefs the class as a whole did not adhere to.  JB was very encouraging to allow my thoughts to challenge others, and to challenge my thoughts also.  A very healthy environment, without personal attacks or snide remarks, (at least from the class….)

Well, the church we attended, at the start of the covid crisis, shut it’s doors, and JB, along with his dear wife, were restricted to thier home.  You see, JB is 80 yrs old this year, and it became obvious early on in the pandemic, that the elderly were susceptible to the virus.  So, JB stayed in as much as he could.  Of course he went to work, until his wife needed dedicated care. 

At this time, he took his retirement, to care for his wife of almost 60 yrs.  DB (his wife) was suffering from her third attack of cancer, and this one was very aggressive.  During this, DB also broke her hip, and was required to have medical care in the hospital.  Through it all, JB rarely showed any indication of suffering, or “Woe is me” .  

Eventually DB came home and JB spent the next few months transitioning from part time care giver to full time care giver, and sought to comfort his wife with all he knew.  Eventually, he had to give up his vehicle to help pay for other bills, but after a week, he mentioned that, although a bigger adjustment than he estimated, it was something that was beneficial for all, and he was thankful.

As covid raged, DB got weaker from the constant attack of the cancer.  JB persevered through the trial, showing a commitment to his wife that I only hope I can match.  A few months ago, JB called to let us know that DB slipped into the arms of the Savior that night, and that they would be planning for a very small service.

Next thing I know, my friend is in the hospital due to a fall, where the doctors suspected a brain aneurism.  During his stay, it was discovered that he had contracted covid.  Personally, I held out only hope for him, due to his advanced age, the stress he had suffered for the past year, and the loss of his partner of nearly 60 years.

He called me a few weeks ago, telling me he was out of the hospital, and recovering, but not as quickly as he would like.  His family are circling around him and he is surviving.    

Just a few days ago, he informed me that his foot is sufferings from a serious infection, where some of it may need to be removed.  After that, he ended the discussion with a number of things he is thankful for.

That is what I want to settle on in this post.  He has went through a prolonged period of testing, some of which I haven’t described, and is thankful. He has lost much that many would consider central to their life. Yet he is thankful. He admits he is challenged in his daily chores.  He isn’t sugar coating his experience.  Yet he is thankful.

Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

Be thankful. It’s good for the soul, and is only the right thing to be! Consider who our God is, and it won’t be difficult to give thinks!

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Love Like Jesus – Without Resentment


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Resentment

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love is not resentful

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus is not resentful

KAKOS

Some think this word is the basis for our understanding of waste material, if’n you know what I mean. In other words, it may be the root word for the result of defecating. My grandson speaks of an accident as “kaka”. Kind of impressive if you know what I mean – My 2 yr old grandson knows more Greek than I!

Wiktionary has a helpful categorization of this term

  • As a measure of quality: bad, worthless, useless
  • As a measure of appearance: ugly, hideous
  • Of circumstances: injurious, wretched, unhappy
  • As a measure of character: low, mean, vile, evil

In the New Testament, the overarching intent of this word is “of a bad nature”. It is used 56 times in the Word. You know, “of a bad nature” is so technical. I would like to consider the word picture of the original term “kaka”, that is of the result of defecating, the defecated material, the solid waste of the human body.

The passage we are looking at this morning, speaks of this “kaka” as being something retained in the life, something that I hold onto.

I remember the “kaka”. That is, I do this, but love doesn’t.

Love doesn’t hold the “kaka”. Why would you want to hold the “kaka”? This word picture, of love is becoming helpful to me.

When I remember something hurtful, or someone who has hurt me, I am holding onto “kaka”, I am, as the NASB translates it, taking into account a wrong suffered. It’s “kaka”.

Let’s think about this for a moment.

Every person reading this post has had hurtful things happen to them. Hurtful words flung at us, unjust actions, painful trials that have pierced our hearts.

When a believer, or for that matter, any person hurts us, as believers, we need to forgive. This is the first action of many in the healing of our lives and in following the Lord. The first action, that is, since the memory will come back to taunt us, to hurt you and I. We may need to forgive that person multiple times in our hearts to get through this battle.

When the memory of this hurtful action floods our minds and hearts, it is helpful for me to associate it with “kaka”. It is “of bad intent”, it is “kaka”, and my ruminating in it is downright disgusting.

Oh, of course this hurtful memory disguises itself as an “injustice” or “that brother’s sin” or some fancy justification. The end result is that me and my memory are all alone at the moment, and that “kaka” is making me smell! The original offender is off enjoying his life, and I need to wrestle this excrement to the ground.

Love is not resentful, it does not keep records of wrong, it does not play with poop!

Don’t play with poop!

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

If anyone in this creation has justification to be resentful, to hang onto “kaka”, it is the Lord Jesus. He has suffered unjustly for the sins of the world and yet does not hold resentment.

Consider the failing of Peter. Jesus discussion with Peter had the flavor of restoration not of resentment. And what about Thomas. Jesus suffered for his sins, and yet he doubted. How could He not push this in to his face, speaking of the pain it caused Him. But He didn’t. He simply came down to Thomas’ level and gave him the opportunity to believe.

No – I can’t see it. Jesus is not resentful. Bitterness and indignation over being unjustly treated was not the Lord’s response, since it is not in His character, expressing love to those who do not deserve it!

Please join me in our next study where we will consider rejoicing out of love.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Explain the Acronym PROVIDE?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Psalms for Psome – 11

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 11 contains a verse that a brother used in discipling me, and in training me in how to approach those that preach beyond the limits of orthodoxy, that is, those who are clearly heretical.

First, though, let us read this psalm.

Psalm 11:1-7

To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, “Flee like a bird to your mountain,
for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

My brother George spent time with me as a young believer and during one of the informal sessions we had, (for they were always informal – he always seemed to have time to discuss the Word and of the Savior), he drew my attention to verse 3.

Psalm 11:3 if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?

At the time, I was not an engineer, but I understood the importance of foundations. A fancy roof is not good if the footings are made of mud. But if the foundations are strong, any roof will do, any color, any shape, any pitch, any material.

In our Christian life, the foundation is critical. I have spent much too much time focusing on the roof, those things that are not foundational, but merely window dressing in the Christian life. Hair splitting of minor doctrine, when Jesus has told us to love our neighbor, to love one another, to care for the weak and provide for the widow and orphan.

So, in our Christian life, what specifically is our foundation? The apostle Paul gives us direction through his letters.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This is the foundation, the Person upon whom all the church, and creation depends on, whether they understand it or not. He is the bedrock of all that is created, and has been recreated. Without Him, there would be no church, with Him the Church can not be destroyed – They killed Him once and now He is invincible. (Big mistake on their part!)

Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,

Paul refines the concept of the foundation of the church as being the apostles and prophets, upon whom we can trust due to their dependence on the Chief Corner Stone, Jesus Christ. The teaching of the apostles and prophets can be relied upon as they were directly commissioned by the Savior to give instruction for His followers

2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

This passage speaks of relationship. When I first read this verse over 40 years ago, I glibly consumed the syllables and moved on.

Not so fast Carl. God’s foundation stands. It is branded with an inscription, with two statements.

The Lord knows those who are His – This is obvious, but in my thinking, I feel Paul is speaking of God’s experiential knowledge, of a knowledge “gained” through relationship with His people. Please don’t call me out as a heretic on this, where it seems I am claiming God is gaining in knowledge and therefore deficient in some way. I don’t understand, and I may be out in left field, but the term ‘know” has the connotation of learning, or perceiving, understanding.

Relationship of our Heavenly Father and His children includes our time based condition. I do not understand how He relates to us through eternity while we are present in this evil world. But it is the first seal on the foundation, and it is how I understand it currently.

The second statement is of those who identify with the Lord, they depart from iniquity. Claiming to be a believer and continually refusing to repent of wrongdoing is, at the least hypocrisy, but I fear in reality is self deception. The Christian life is a life of continual repentance and renewal, or changing your perspective on every topic in life, of being re-educated from the dirt of the world to the truth of the Word.

My friend, if you are being challenged in an area of your life that is scary, or that will be difficult, trust in the goodness of God. If I read this verse properly, it is merely a matter of time before you repent, unless of course…

The foundation of Christianity is solid, since it is the Lord Jesus Christ. Trusting in a religion, a denomination, a way of life, a philosophy, a leader, a political party, or whatever you lean on other than the Lord, will disappoint you. If you think you are a Christian because of something other that a living relationship with Him, you will be disappointed.

Thanks for dropping by and considering the Bible with me. I do hope to hear from you in the comment section, and to


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Book Look – The Potter’s Promise – 1

As many who follow this blog may know, I have recently stumbled (providentially?) over a web page called Soteriology 101, fueled by the passionate Dr. Leighton Flowers. I have supplied a number of 60 second videos, under “Calvin’s Concern” blog posts, and have found his teaching to be challenging and refreshing.

As I was listening to Dr. Flowers, I decided to purchase his book and received it in the mail recently. The first chapter grabbed me, and I suspect I will have a few posts regarding this book.

In his first chapter, Dr. Flowers supplies a short list of differences between the popular Calvinistic teaching and what he calls a traditional approach to soteriology (the study of salvation).

I offer the below as a taste of the approach this book takes. He defines the two approaches thus.

Calvinists teach that Christ self-sacrificially loves a pre-selected group of individuals.

Traditionalists teach that Christ loves every single personso much that He died for them all.

Calvinists teach that before the world began, God predestined some individuals to salvation and the rest to eternal damnation based on nothing having to do with the individuals choices or actions

Traditionalists teach that God has predestined every individual who is “marked in Christ” through faith to be saved (Eph 1:13), and it is each individual’s responsibility to humble themselves and trust Christ in faith (Luke 18:6-14)

As a former Calvinist, I consider his summary to be fair. It is a shameful thing to admit now, but as a Calvinist, I made every effort to support the belief in a God who predestined some to eternal damnation. This is not the God I have come to know. He revels in being kind, supplying our needs, (and many of our wants), constantly available on the throne for our supplications to hear, and ever willing to forgive any who repent and forsake their evil ways.

If you do not know Him as a loving and sacrificial Savior, read the New Testament one more time.

Psalm 117:2

For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures for ever. Praise ye the LORD.


If any who are reading this and have found Him as I am describing, please let me know.  If you do not know of the Savior as the loving God of all creation, please reach out to a believer you may know. Or reach out to myself. I would be honored to assist if I am able.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Psalms for Psome – 10

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 10

Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.
He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

This psalm, in the Latin Vulgate, is the second part of Psalm 9, where David is describing the wicked, and the traps they build, for themselves. Whether this psalm is to be connected directly with the 9th or not, the theme is identical.

The wicked are described as being prosperous while cursing the Lord, of being unmoveable, of a mouth full of cursing, deciet and oppression, of setting traps for the innocent and helpless and of telling himself that “God has forgotten”, that “He has hidden His face” and that “He will never see it”

Psalm 10:11

He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

Why? Why do the wicked seek to convince themselves? Their conscious thoughts will be deadened eventually, by fighting against the truth of a God that will be answered to.

It is a choice to be in this condition. If you are fighting your conscious, give up before you win, for in winning against your conscious, you lose so much!

Psalm 10:16-18

The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

There will come a time when the man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.


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Parable Surprises – The Unfruitful Fig Tree

Our last parable of the rich man and his barns spoke of a bountiful harvest and the rich man’s poor decisions, being fueled by covetousness and poor priorities. This parable speaks of another agrarian example, but this time the dang tree ain’t producing!

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Unfruitful Fig Tree

Luke 13:6-9

6 And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ 8 And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. 9 Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

The text opens up in Luke 13 with a general description of “some present at that very time” and how they had spoke of an atrocity that some Galileans suffered.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Again, this is early on in the Lord’s ministry, seemingly in the Galilean region, prior to His journey towards Jerusalem

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

The region of Galilee.

Why did the Lord give this message?

The context of the passage is repentance. Luke 13:1-5 speaks of the relative sinfulness of those who suffer compared to others. You know how that goes – they are worse than I. It is a favorite past time of everyone of us. These folks in the first verse just mentioned this to the One who doesn’t dabble in relative sin, at least in His discussion here.

These folks who suffered at the hands of a cruel government leader weren’t worse sinners than any others! All need to repent! And those folks who suffered due to an accidental occurrence weren’t worse sinners than any others! All need to repent!

Even those who think they are better than those “worst sinners!”

So in summary, the context is for this parable is the requirement of repentance, especially of the self righteous.

What was the message for the original audience?

What is a fig tree doing in a vineyard?

I get the allusion of the vineyard as representing Israel, because it is often referred to as such.

One of the multiple verses referring to Israel as a vine is

Jeremiah 2:21

Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?

So what about a fig tree? Why the difference?

Jeremiah helps us one more time, for in the 8th chapter….

Jeremiah 8:13

13 When I would gather them, declares the LORD, there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree; even the leaves are withered, and what I gave them has passed away from them.”

Interesting. Jeremiah complains of the nation of Israel, in that both the vine and the fig are fruitless. Is this an example of Hebrew poetry, where the author says the same thing using a different description? I’m thinking so.

That still doesn’t explain why the Lord made the distinction. And I want to be careful not to make a mountain out of a molehill, or to try to make this parable walk on 50 legs! Still, it is interesting and caught my attention. If the reader has a suggestion to assist, it would be greatly appreciated.

The message for the original audience is that the fig tree, representing the nation of Israel, needs to change (repent) and begin to produce fruit in keeping with the message of Jesus. If the nation continues without producing the fruit required from the vinedresser, that is the Lord Jesus, that fig tree will be immediately pulled out by the roots and completely destroyed.

Did you catch that?

Not by the roots! The tree will be cut down. The life of the tree will not be extinguished, just the visible portion removed. (There is significance to this truth, but will not chase that rabbit right now!!)

And notice, that the fig tree had not been producing any fruit for THREE years. Remember that the fig usually produces fruit twice a year, the early and the late fig. But this tree produced nothing.

Also one more mistake I inserted into the text above.

The tree would not be immediately removed! The vinedresser, the Lord Jesus asked the owner (God the Father) to give it one more year. He would dig around it, and place some fertilizer on it. The Lord Jesus wanted to give the fig tree / nation of Isarea the most advantageous conditions to produce fruit. He gave the fig tree another year of opportunity. A second chance. (In reality a fourth chance!)

What is the message for us today?

I wanna say “Get to work and do something!” or “Get producing!” but I’m not quite sure that is the right thing to say. After all, the context is repentance, and as the prophet John said, bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Bear / produce fruit.

Fruit in the Christian life is the result of walking with the Spirit. Walking with the Spirit is the goal of the every day Christian. The every day Christian should recognize the Spirit’s call on his life. The characteristics of a believer walking in the Spirit should be obvious, but I will mention since I need to be reminded – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Don’t try to produce fruit. You will get leaves.

Walk in the Spirit, be submissive to His calling in your life.

  • When you have opportunity to argue, return a soft answer
  • When you are tempted to compete, show humility and give way.
  • When a difficult situation arises, seek to endure, if it be the will of God. (That last one is a tough one!!!)

Don’t stand or run in the Spirit – walk in the Spirit, and if you do you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Incredible truth.

Produce fruit.



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Psalms for Psome – 9

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read a portion of this Psalm, and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

 Psalm 9:15-16

The nations have sunk in the pit that they made;
in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.

The LORD has made himself known; he has executed judgment;
the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands. 

My momma used to say “You are your own worst enemy Carl!” Truer words were never spoken. She had a way of being blunt that I didn’t take offense at, since I knew she loved me and was simply speaking her mind for my benefit.

This psalm is speaking the author’s mind for our benefit.

This psalm speaks of the traps we lay for each other, and how the traps take us. The psalmist is looking globally, or nations falling into dissolution and destruction, but as believers fall, so fall families, and so fall communities, and cities and states and nations.

To set a trap for a fellow is to condemn ourselves to being ensnared.

David goes so far as describing those who are snared in their own traps as wicked. To set a trap for a fellow human is to become wicked, and will result in self damage. This is obvious as we watch the dissolution of great civilizations, but lets be applicable for a moment, lets get to the personal level.

Consider.

At the office, you see a peer getting ahead by hard work and long hours. You consider spreading some harmless innuendos – nothing actually specific, but enough to start someone else on the path to a conclusion.

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

You are out with your friends for a night of fun, and happen upon a friend that is not so popular with the others. You seek to avoid him, but he approaches the group. What is the right thing to do? Calculate the repercussions of aligning with your not-so-popular friend and decide against it? Determine to shame him, mock or ridicule him, in order to find acceptance of the in-crowd?

This is a wickedness.

Ephesians 4:20-21 But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

A friend has abused his body most of his life and he seems to refuse to change, to care for his own life. You have sought to minister to him with gentleness and humility, seeking to encourage and exhort him to change. You come to the end of your rope, and consider abandoning him to his decisions.

What think ye?

Psalm 9:18

For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God is so much different than I. (Is He different than you?)

He is truly good, and His name is to be praised.


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Love Like Jesus – Without Irritation


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Irritation

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love is not irritable

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus is not irritable

1 Cor 13 - irritable

Paul used a lot of Greek terms that are rarely used elsewhere in the New Testament when he wrote this passage. This particular word we find here is only used one other time in the New Testament.

Act 17:16

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.

Guess what word is the same as “irritable” in our study. If you said, provoked, you win a cigar!

Let’s get some background to this verse.

Paul was wandering around Athens, waiting for his partners in crime, Silas and Timothy to show up, when he started to notice that the city was full of idols. This provoked Paul, irritated him, it was like a sharp stick that goaded him as he saw this idolatry. Of course this irritation was channeled into a season of reasoning with the Athenians, which brought about further preaching opportunities. Not much fruit came of this initial preaching, but that is immaterial to the topic at hand.

Paul channelled this irritation into good. We cannot avoid being irritated at times, yet love is not irritated. How do we reconcile our real ife with this claim?

If I am walking in love, nothing will ultimately irritate me. This is a huge claim, and reveals the weakness of love I experience toward some during my day. The issue is that “the love” I walk in is not compatible with the love defined in the Word. That is a problem!

Consider.

If I am irritated over the guy who swerved in front of me on the highway, I need to be thankful I wasn’t cut off and run into the ditch. If I was run into the ditch, I need to be thankful my car didn’t roll over. If my car rolled over, I need to be thankful that I survived the accident. If I didn’t survive the accident, I will be home. That will be a day of great thanksgiving.

Is that too simplistic, too general, too easy of an answer? Tell you what I’m gonna do. I will practice a thankful heart around my chief “irritator”. Hey, and if I don’t get back to you on this, you have my permission to try it on your chief “irritator” – you know who I mean!

My point is that as I have been experiencing irritability recently and been searching for solutions. The solution is to have a thankful heart.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

I can’t help but think He has had every irritator available to vex, provoke, annoy and aggravate Him. His character has shown that personal attacks did not irritate Him. He walked in love. Those times when anger rose, He was responding to our lack of concern over who the Father was.

My morning memory verse was

Romans 15:3

For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

I realize that reproach implies a rebuke, a blame and a discrediting of another, and this is where much of my irritability roots from. Yet when God the Father was shamed and defamed, He absorbed this vitriolic action. He not only did not react out of provoking, He eventually stretched out His hand and received all our hate.

Yes, He is not irritable. He is calm, loving and in control.

Please join me in our next study where we will consider how resentment relates to the Christian life.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Affirm Total Depravity?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Calvin’s Concerns – God is Certainly Better than a Levite!

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then I have had a number of discussions in the comment sections, and it has made me reconsider a general teaching of Calvinism.

You see, I was reminded recently of the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and how both the priest and the Levite passed by the man who had been beaten by robbers.

As Jesus was describing this story, it seems evident that the beaten man was a kinsman, a fellow Israelite. Jesus only called out the Samaritan as the “foreigner”, and this only accentuates the tension of the story.

Fellow, religious Israelites “looked on him, and passed by on the other side” They saw the beaten man but ignored him.

The dirty Samaritan did not simply look on him, but you know the story – He bound up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, took him to an inn, paid for his care, and promised to return with further payment.

Now we all know the story, and how this is a challenge to believers to consider even “enemies:” as neighbors to be loved, even as thyself. (Note that Jesus stated self love as a fact, and not a goal!) This is a tantamount challenge, if you are honest with yourself, and yet Jesus lived this way, loving His enemies to the point of death, even death on the cross.

BUT

If I understand Calvinism, and the teaching of reprobation, it appears God is worse than the priest and the Levite. At least the priest and the Levite simply ignored the beaten man. According to standard Calvinistic teaching, based on my understanding, all the poor souls that are not elect are denied any help from God in regeneration, resulting in the damnation of their souls. This denial of help, of delivering the “beaten man” was decided in eternity past, when God decided who would be chosen for salvation, and who would be damned to eternal destruction, (to the praise of His glory?).

Yes, the teaching of Calvinism makes out the character of God to be worse than the priest and the Levite. Something about this just doesn’t make sense!

Of course, if the God described by Calvinism is true, I can feel pretty good about myself. You see, I am only as bad as the Levite in many ways. I certainly do not wish or plan for the destruction of any person. Kinda proud of my righteousness, (as I try to convince myself of this horrendous teaching!)

This isn’t the God I serve. He is full of mercy, and loving to a fault, spreading His grace to all who would listen and follow. He is good in the truest sense of the word, and in Him there is no darkness.

Be thankful for our Creator Savior God. He has supplied the wine and oil of healing for those of us who are beaten and abandoned. He is good.


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Psalms for Psome – 8

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 8 is a wonderful psalm, full of contrasts and comparisons. Throughout the psalm, David is in awe of the greatness of our God, of the creation he has provided, and the position God has placed man in .

First, lets read the passage and take your time. We should never rush the Psalms!

Psalm 8:1 – 9

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

As you read through this passage, did you notice it sounded somewhat New Testamental? This psalm is quoted multiple times in the New Testament and the way that the New Testament authors used the Old Testament statements have always challenged my thinking. It is a worthy endeavor to seek to align our thinking with the Lord and His apostles. See end of the post for verses to consider.

With that challenge for you, let’s consider one verse out of this psalm. My wife and I settled on verse 4 to discuss as we read through the psalm. Given the littleness of man in relation to God’s majesty, what is it that man can claim that would draw the attention of the Creator God, the One who created the heavens and the earth.

If the stars and the moon, in David’s mind, caused wonder, imagine the expected multiplied impression as we moderns understand the expanse, not only of our own universe, but of the billions of universes that God flung into existence with the mere expression of a word. How insignificant in comparison to the created universes is lowly “man”, not to mention in comparison the the One who created all.

What is man? David informs us, through creation, that we are insignificant, and yet God is mindful of us. Mindful is the thought of remembering us, recalling our condition and existence, of calling to record.

God thinks on us. His concern and remembrance of a tiny part of His creation can not be based on our relation to the extent of the universe. The universe, and all universes were created at the pleasure of the Godhead, and man is the one who God has thoughts on.

Yet the psalm continues with speaking of the son of man. The Old Testament writers used Hebrew poetry, where they would repeat a thought in a second line, as opposed to our modern simply poetry of ending the line with a rhyme. David was linking “man” with “son of man’ in this next line. Yet we know that the New Testament author in Hebrews applies this passage to the Son of Man.

What is the Son of Man, that you (God) care for Him. That is a striking thought, if I am understanding the text. Of course, looking at it from one perspective, the Son of Man is the Father’s great love, a “caring” that is limitless.

From an opposing view, as He hung on the cross, and the Father looked away, the constant “care” of the Father was broken, ruptured from all of eternity. Darkness descended and relation was broken.

As believers, in the midst of darkness, we are to look to the Savior. Consider the contrasts the Psalm provides and how different He is from our base understanding. We are insignificant, and yet consider ourselves to be of utmost importance. He knows our frailty, weakness, and brokenness and yet thinks on us, loves us and gives all for us.

Truly a psalm that speaks of contrasts, of a love that is showered on insignificant man, and of a love that was severed for the Significant One.

Consider the blessing of knowing our God and give thanks.

He is majestic!


Mat 21:16

and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise’?”

Hebrews 2:6-7

It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?

You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,

1 Corinthians 15:27

For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

Ephesians 1:22

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,


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Parable Surprises – The Rich Man and Barns

This parable is a response to an unknown crowdster, that wanted to “see tha money”. I don’t think he knew what he was getting into!

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Rich Man and Barns

Luke 12:16-21

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Luke 12:13 mentions a crowd being present. Jesus had been teaching and a crowd came together to hear the Master. The disciples of course were present.

When did the Lord give this parable?

Specifically, I can not find a time or location this parable was taught. Others with greater abilities than I place it in the region of Galilee.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

It seems this parable was taught in the early years of the Lord’s ministry.

Why did the Lord give this message?

As mentioned in the introduction, the parable was given in response to a man in the crowd wanting resolution over an inheritance.

During our Lord’s time, it seems the scribes of the law were addressed in the matter of the laws of inheritance.

One of the laws of inheritance that may seem foreign to us nowadays is the right of the first born. The first born would receive twice the amount of inheritance than any of the other siblings. So, for example, out a 2 million dollar inheritance between two brothers, the first born would receive 1.3 million buckaroos, while the younger brother only $667,000. (Poor little rich boy!)

In our society that would cause constant complaints, a commission should be set up to study and strike down such an unjust law. That is our problem – this was Old Testament Israel, set up originally as a theocracy, with laws that picture the supremacy of the first born, looking to the Savior as a fulfillment. But I digress.

As mentioned, sometimes scribes were addressed regarding inheritance laws. But Jesus would not get pulled down into this specific issue since it was not his mission. He simply asked the man the following.

Luke 12:14

… “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

What a question. In the matters of this man’s familial conflicts and greed, He would not get involved. And yet, upon His resurrection, God made Jesus a judge over all.

Romans 2:16

16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

This question, or shall I say demand, from a stranger in the crowd, brings Jesus to the topic of covetousness, and the teaching of this particular parable.

What was the message for the original audience?

The message for the original audience is to be on guard over covetousness. The covetousness in this parable takes the form of the rich man seeking comfort and ease in his future life. He has had a bumper crop, to no credit of his own efforts – the God of creation provided the bounty – and yet in the midst of this great success financially, the rich man thought of the ease it may provide for his own soul.

Luke 12:19

….“Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’

Jesus was addressing priorities, for in the very next verse, God called this man a fool. Why? The rich man had no earthly future upon which to enjoy his goods, and the statement implies that all the goods this rich man accumulated would be dispersed to an unknown recipient.

I don’t want to make this parable walk on 50 legs, finding parallels in every word, but this question from God is startling, for the condemnation from God is two fold in my eyes this morning.

  • The rich man was not prepared for death.
    • He wasn’t prepared for death in that he had planned for “many years of relaxation and rest”. Back in the garden, God told us to “till the garden”. Labor is not a part of the curse, but part of the original creation, a blessing that is instilled in us by the Creator. Why was relaxation and rest the top priority for this rich man?
    • The rich man did not consider the Creator regarding the length of his lifespan. No man knows of his time, and it behooves us to be prepared, even daily for death. This is not something that is encouraged in our culture, or even in our churches very often. We so often want our best life now. This may not be wide! Tonight his soul is required of him.
  • The rich man was not prepared for death.
    • He wasn’t prepared for death in that he hadn’t directed his earthly possessions to his descendants (if he had any) or to worthy causes. This is a bit stunning, for what does it matter to the Creator of the universe where this rich mans paltry possessions end up? Whose will they be?
    • We began this post considering a man who had issues with an inheritance. His initial question from the crowd began this post. Inheritance in the Old Testament was a common topic, and this phrase is directing me to consider its implications. ( A quick search for the word inheritance shows it coming up over 200 times in the Scriptures.)

Although the topic is covetousness, there seems to also be an undercurrent of priorities to be applied to one’s life.

Could it be as simple as the priorities of God first, family and friends next, and then finally yourself?

In answering this question, I began with my thinking that it addresses covetousness in the believers life, and that is true, but in this parable, priorities are used to reveal the covetous life.

What is the message for us today?

In reading this parable over the years I have had a number of reactions to it. When I read it quickly, or think about it without reading it (don’t do that), I come away from it thinking all retirement investing as being sinful.

Is that the intended message for us today?

Of course, if covetousness is controlling your plans for retirement, or generally for your future, consider your ways.

If you are planning for a time when you may no longer be able to provide for yourself or loved ones, then this may be considered careful planning.

In setting priorities, we need to remember that becoming a burden on others should not be a goal in our lives. Balance in our lives regarding our financial decisions needs to be reviewed, and the previously discussed priorities of God, family and self (in that order) need to be reapplied as necessary

You know, as I think of this topic, it reminds me of two items that may help in understanding the intent of the parable

Prioritizing Honesty with God

Recently my wife and I were in the book of Acts, and read of Ananias and Saphira. I posted earlier on the surprise of a small statement in the text about Barnabas selling a field. He sold a field, not all of his fields, or most of his fields. It doesn’t tell us what percentage he sold. It seems unimportant. He performed a loving action for his brothers.

Ananias and Sapphira were different – They also sold a field, and lied about giving all of the funds to the church. The amount didn’t seem to be the problem – it was the lie that they gave all when they only gave some. I wonder if things would have turned out differently if they admitted they only gave some?

In prioritizing God in our financial decisions, honesty is a priority. After all, it is all of His, and we are simply “tilling the garden”, not owning the field!

As an aside, I find that being anonymous in my giving is also beneficial, in order that my motives may approach an honest simplicity.

Prioritizing Others after Death

Early in our married life, I shunned many offers of life insurance, thinking it showed a lack of faith in God. I wanted to honor God in every decision, and as I sought to understand His will for our lives, I came up against 1 Timothy 5:8.

1 Timothy 5:8

8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Out of context, I understood this verse to speak of supplying food and shelter for my family and I still believe that. Consider 2 Thessalonians 3:10

…If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat

But as I considered the context of 1 Timothy 5, I began to see something that would require an attitude adjustment.

The context of this verse is in relation to widows. 1 Timothy 5:3 speaks of honoring widows, and of family members caring for the widow in the next verse. Then verse 8 pops up, speaking of one not supplying for members of his household, and that he is worse than an unbeliever. It may be addressing the living relatives of the widow, but I was impressed with the need of supplying for my wife and family in the event of my death. Out of that period of time, I revised my thinking (it’s called repentance) and took out a life insurance policy for my wife and children.

Please understand that I am not a life insurance salesman, nor is anyone in my family a life insurance salesman. This is not a life insurance commercial!

I currently have a policy that will supply funds for my wife (my children are out of the house now) in the event of my passing before her. Is this a solution for all? That is for you to seek God in. There may be many ways for the believer to honor God and love his family in place of having a policy as I have.

In the midst of the insurance struggle that was raging in my mind and heart, I also was drawn to the topic of a last will. Nothing specifically in the Scriptures directed me in this matter but love for my wife and family constrained me to get one done. But gosh golly, gee willikers, this parable may be addressing the need of a will, when we look at Luke 12:20.

….whose will they be?

Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed and I look forward to any insight you may add in the comments. Thanks so much for visiting. May the Lord bless you and keep you in all His ways.



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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe In Prevenient Grace?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Love Like Jesus – Without Demands


lovelikejesus_157x157

Lately, I have been exclusively in the Apostle John’s writings, in my personal readings, my blog writing, and my time with my wife.

John reiterates one theme, over and over again in my opinion, and that is that we are to love one another, to love like Jesus, to love.

It is refreshing to be reminded of the core mission of believers.

Love like Jesus.

Without Demands

Love is the goal of all of Christian life.  Love that is displayed in the life of Jesus.  The life and death of Jesus.  This love is described in 1 Corinthians 13.  Let’s consider

Love does not insist on its own way

It has been years since a brother once instructed me to replace the term “love” with “Jesus” to get a better understanding of who He is.  

Jesus does not insist on His own way

1 Cor 13 - his own

This is a difficult study, in that the suggestion of my brother seems to go against the lordship of Jesus. I mean, the lordship of Christ, by definition is to have His way.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself. Lets look at some passages that may flesh out the idea of “insisting on it’s own way” and consider it’s message.

Lets look at some passages that describe the act of love in not insisting on it’s own way

Not Insisting

Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

This passage is teaching of the willingness of the Christ to give up what was pleasing to Himself, (not insisting on his own way) in the plan of God.

Luke 22:42

…”Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Again, when the most excruciating time in Jesus life was upon Him, He did not insist on His own way, but desired the Father’s will to be done.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Paul is directing the believers in Philippi to not insist on their desires but to consider others more significant, to be open to other believers. To consider others to be more significant, would necessarily consider their ways to be worthy of considering, and by implication, we would need to be willing to be malleable, not insisting on our ways.

1 Corinthians 10:24

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

Another time where Paul instructs believers to seek the good of their neighbors. The same logic can be applied as with the Philippian passage.

1 Corinthians 14:4

He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

It is becoming apparent that the believer is to be willing to adjust, to be flexible, to not insist on their ways in an expression of true Christian love.

And yet there are passages that speak of the believers responsibility to be inflexible, to stand and not be moved

Insisting

Jude wanted to fight over something, definitely not a “give in” attitude.

Jude 1:3

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

To contend, or to earnestly contend, comes from the Greek word epagōnizomai. Can you see the “agony” in the Greek word? Jude was not willing to give in or “not insist” on a certain truth. The gospel was non-negotiable.

Of course, there may be some out there that consider every teaching, from end times to modes of baptism to be “gospel truth” and every secondary and tertiary teaching they hold to to be worthy of dying for. Convictions of belief are good and should be established in our lives, and yet we are to handle some truths with a kid glove, understanding that other truly born again believers hold to different teachings. This is where discernment comes in.

Before that discussion, let’s consider one more passage that speaks of a believer insisting on his own way.

Paul was preaching the gospel, teaching the unity of the body of Christ, when Peter came to visit the Galation church. All was well, until Peter joined a group from Jerusalem, separating himself from the others, and causing Paul a kinipshin fit.

Paul insisted on correction. He did not allow Peter’s decision to eat with the Judaizers to potentially split the Church into two factions

Galatians 2:12-14

For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.

And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Paul wasn’t willing to let this go. He insisted on his own way.

So what can we learn from this?

1 Corinthains 13 teaches us that love does not insist on its own way, and yet there are passages that show the very leaders of the Church, even the author of 1 Corinthians, insisting on thier own way.

One point in this conflict may be helpful to consider. When it comes to self sacrifice, to giving up your own ways in order to consider a fellow believers thoughts and actions, show some grace and sacrifice your way for the body.

I once attended a church that was voting on the color of shingles to be placed on the roof of the building. You would have thought they were arguing over the divinity of Christ.

Be at peace with one another as much as is possible. It takes two to tangle, and if you give up your rights and ways, peace may erupt in the body. How wonderful!

When it comes to sacrificing the truth about the person of Christ, and the message the Word of God provides us, INSIST – do not budge!

In the context of 1 Corinthians, where the body was being ripped apart with infightings over gifts, and tongues etc. giving way is a powerful reminder of the attitude and mind of Christ. We need to practice the mind of Christ without giving up the truth of Christ.

Jesus replacing Love

So is my brother’s suggestion of replacing the term love with Jesus accurate and helpful?

Jesus does not insist, He does not demand.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this one aspect of love seems to fight against the Lordship of Christ.

He does make demands on His people. You shall not lie, steal, commit adultery. You shall love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind. He does expect obedience and that indicates His Words are commands, demands, items He insists on.

One verse that has caught me off guard is in 2 Corinthians 6:1, where Paul states that he works together with God.

2 Corinthians 6:1

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

Notice that Paul “works together” with God. He is the Lord, but am I off base to think that the Lord of all actually considers our thoughts, and adjusts His plans in order to work together with us? Prayer is the very topic I am thinking of in this instance, and it may need to be considered in a separate post, but it is amazing that the One who is above all, considers our thoughts and concerns in the grand scheme of all things.

He truly is a great God!

Please join me in our next study where we will consider how love relates to irritability.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Calvin’s Concerns – Do You Believe Calvinism Makes God Unjust?

In our previous post, I tried to give some of my interactions and history with the Calvinistic thought process and teachings.

With this post, I would like to introduce you to the teacher I referred to earlier. He is a former Calvinist also, and has recanted, and has become a bit of a lightning rod for provisionism soteriology teaching.

Many of his videos are quite lengthy, and have kept my interest now for weeks. What I would like to do is offer his “60 Second Soteriology” clips to introduce you to Mr Leighton Flowers.

I do hope you will consider the teaching with an open mind.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Psalms for Psome – 7

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book”, passages come alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Its been years since we dealt with Miles. He was a big ol’ fella, our neighbor for about 5 years, and at the start, was pleasant, friendly, aw shucks he was even neighborly.

But something “broke” in Miles, or more likely, his true colors came out, and he started to attack our family. Specifically my sweet wife. My sweet little wife.

Miles eventually poisoned the neighborhood against us, dragged my wife into court, had the police and the RCMP (federal Canadian police – similar to the FBI) come to our door, and berated us on the local radio station.

Meanwhile, in the Simpson home, we were reading through the Old Testament, connecting with David when he was being chased by that King Saul. David never retaliated, threatened or caused Saul any harm. He had opportunity to seek revenge – that is for sure, but he trusted the Lord, which meant no revenge.

Me and that sweeet wife of mine decided to pray and seek no revenge. To be fair, most of this burden fell on my wife since she was a stay at home mom, home schooling our children, and Miles was on disability, at his home all day long. She sought a peaceful life and after close to three years, the Lord delivered us from Miles.

Psalm 7

14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.

You see, Miles dug a pit for us to fall in, to trap us and to cause us pain. Please do not think that we were without temptations, anger, frustrations and fears. Much frustration!

But the Lord worked it out for Miles to give up, sell his home and move to a new community, which eventually filled up with young families. By the way, did I tell you one of his major complaints were the number of children we had? No? Well, lets just say he didn’t love our youngins, which always shocks me, since they are the bestest youngins!!!

When we look back at that time, I think the Lord also added wee bit of humor to the situation, in that I received a job offer in another city and sold our home just months after he moved. Poor Miles. He loved that home and wanted us to leave so he could have “peace”. Eventually his anger and hatred forced him to give up and move away.

He fell into the hole he dug for us.

Sometimes the Lord just adds a bit extra “justice” to the way He takes care of His people.


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Psalms for Psome – 6

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

In our prayers as believers, we have been given many wonderful promises, promises such as

Hebrews 4:16

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The throne of grace, where mercy flows, and help is available. What a fantastic promise to depend on, to believe. This privilege of the believer is a precious truth, one that, I can safely safe many of us do not appreciate fully.

This is a truth that we have constantly, and that as we reach out to the Father is humility and with confession, we can believe we have brought our petitions before Him and that we will receive mercy and help.

This psalm is the first of seven penitential psalms David authored. David was in deep despair and trouble in Psalm 6. He is physically sick and spiritually troubled. He is pleading with God to turn, yet this is a displeasure he has brought upon himself. His sin before God brought this distance and the pain and fear he is experiencing is a grace that God provides to get his attention.

Brother/sister, are you struggling with doubt or despair?

Two thoughts come to mind. The first is the simple decision of the Lord to simply allow us to have a barrenness in our lives, a time of dryness and quietness from the Lord that seems unexplainable. I will confess this has been my experience in the past, and has caused me to search the Word and my relation with Him.

The second, which sadly is the more common for myself at least, is the experience of bring the doubt and despair upon myself. My hardness of heart in listening to the voice of God has caused me to commit sin again Him, either in attitude or actions. I fear we all fall at times in our walk with Him. Have you knowledge of sin against God in your life? This doubt and despair may be a gracious act of God, seeking to get your attention.

David committed sin against the Lord and was in the depths of despair and anguish. He speaks of his end being in Sheol, of his death. His experience is that of life and death. He weeps and wails, seeking relief. In the midst of his grief, David writes the following

Psalm 6:8-9

Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer.

Did the weeping and wailing “pay” for his sins, satisfy the Lord and force the Father’s hand in forgiving His child? Some may think this way, but I speculate those who think thus may not have experienced a child’s tears of sorrow.

When one of my children approached me in humble contrition for a wrong they committed against my self, their mother, or worse yet, against themselves, all I could think of are ways to find resolution and to restore what was lost.

Granted, I am a sinner with little wisdom, but I recognize that Jesus often used our experiences to compare and demonstrate the Fathers love for His children. (Take a few moments to consider how often He used our parental experiences as a basis to explain the Father’s greater love for His children.)

David prayed to the Lord, he approached the throne of grace in humility and contrition. He boldly states “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer” This is the experience of Hebrews 4.

May we experience that confidence as we seek His pleasure.


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Let Me Tell You a Story – The Blizzard of ’21

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

It was a quiet Saturday, but little did we know what lay ahead for us for the next few days. 

Yes, I am referring to the blizzard of ’21, where we received up to 2″ of snow, temperatures that plummeted to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and a complete shutdown of the power grid, along with the resultant darkness, loss of heat and breaking water pipes.

As a Canadian who has lived through minus 40 degree weather,  experienced 2 or more feet of snow (in one “dump”), and experienced 6 months of winter, year in and year out, it became apparent once again the blessing of living in Houston.

But Carl – you were without power for over 52 hours, a water pipe in your attic burst, with water gushing out, tearing up both the second and first floor ceilings, and you woke with the house temperature barely above 40 degrees.  Two days of 8 blankets on the bed, reading during the day, and finding ways to charge your phone for communication .  Two days where we had no distractions, where my wife and I were confined to our bed to stay warm.  Two days of considering our situation.  Two days of being still.

You see, we are a blessed people, and I will readily admit we had what amounts to a minor inconvenience.  We heard reports of horrendous experiences of folks during this blizzard.  Some folk died during this trial, and we are so sorry to hear of this tragedy.

When trials come into your life, many distractions can accompany the struggle.  At one point in our two day trouble, I began to consider this as an opportunity.  What could I do, other than to be with my wife, to be quiet, and (eventually) to be thankful for the mercies we experience every day.

I do hope those who may be reading this have not suffered from the cold snap we experienced, or from other trials recently.  If so, and you would allow us to pray for you, please do not hesitate to share via the comment box below.

Thanks muchly and have a blessed day walking with the Savior.

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Parable Surprises – The Unequal Debts

This parable speaks of debt, and a few parables use this topic, since it was a common condition in the first century. A bit later in the career of the Lord He uses this topic in a somewhat lengthy parable of a man being forgiven a humongous debt. It is one of the more disturbing parables I can think of. But I am getting ahead of myself (again!).

Let’s take a look at

The Parable of The Unequal Debts

Luke 7:41-43

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

As mentioned in our introduction, we have a number of questions that will provide guidance in understanding each of these parables. Let’s review and delve into this parable.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

According to Luke 7:36 and following verses, a Pharisee by the name of Simon invited Jesus into his home for a meal. Simon had also invited “others” to the meal according to Luke 7:49, and of course there was that instigator, that sinful woman.


When did the Lord give this parable?

During the Lord’s Galilean ministry, which was in His first year of public ministry.

By the way, I have recently found an interesting graphic of a timeline of the ministry of the Lord Jesus here. The website BibleTimeLines.com supplies this information. Visit to check the info out. I hope it is useful for your review and information.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

Simon the Pharisee likely lived in the region of Galilee, near either the city of Capernaum or Nain. Both these cities were on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Why did the Lord give this message?

Simon asked a question. Under his breath! If’n I ask a question under my breath, I surely don’t expect anyone to respond. I usually do this type of complaining in order to justify my own bias’s. Jesus would take this opportunity to help Simon understand a basic truth, that had great implications.

I think if he had closed the door to his home and the woman couldn’t get in, everything would have been different. Of course I am being waggish at this point. But it raises a question in my mind. How did a woman, whom the general audience and Simon had disdain for, enter into the home?

Simon invited Jesus into his home, but the woman wasn’t invited. She entered the home of a Pharisee to bless the Master. What utter audacity! This is totally unexpected.

And what is more, Simon didn’t rebuke the sinful woman, but muttered under his breath, saying to himself that Jesus surely isn’t a prophet since this “sort of woman” was touching him.

It is truly warped what religion does to those engulfed in it. For a sinful woman to touch someone, to become “an issue” is beyond me.

Lets recap. A woman dowsing Jesus feet with ointment gave offence to a Pharisee, who had little estimation of who Jesus was. (It seems Simon thought of Jesus as simply a failed prophet!)

What was the message for the original audience?

Jesus responds to Simon’s thoughts in telling this story. Remember now, that Simon is thinking Jesus is simply a failed prophet, a prophet who is lacking in the basic understanding of the moral character of a woman, and is failing in keeping Himself “pure”.

Jesus tells a parable about two debtors, the sinful woman and Simon. The sinful woman owed 10 times the amount of debt than Simon. Of course, during the parable, Simon would not have recognized that he was the one owing a debt, but that will come later in Jesus explanation of the parable to Simon.

Both debtors were in debt. To the moneylender. Who is this moneylender Jesus? Looking back on this parable, we all have the privilege’s of knowing the “punchline”, but Simon is not wary of this yet. He is still in a fog!

This is the power of a parable, since it takes us out of the story until it is too late. This is what I call the Nathan principle, since Nathan the prophet did this so well with King David when he asked of judgment on the rich man who took the poor man’s sheep.

Both debts were forgiven by the moneylender, and a simple question was asked.

Who loves more?

Simon was a careful Pharisee, for he said “I suppose…” I am thinking the light is starting to dawn on Simon. This woman obviously loves Jesus.

The reactions of the two debtors reveals their estimation of the Son of God, their understanding of who this Jesus is. This estimation of who He is, is what fuels each of their reactions to the Messiah.

The audience finally get it. Who forgives debt / sins? A failed prophet? You can think that Simon, but it doesn’t change reality. The woman understood, that sinful woman!

What is the message for us today?

If I were there in Simon’s place, as he was “getting the point”, I would be preparing myself for a shaming.

My lack of love to Jesus would have been based on my wrong estimation of Him.

Simon thought He was a failed prophet, but the parable and His explanation makes it clear who Jesus is. Jesus is the Great Moneylender. The One to whom we all owe debt. If we could be honest with ourselves, like the woman, sinful as she was, and realize our debt, and the scope of forgiveness He provides to us, we would simply love Him and seek ways to show it.

This parable speaks to us as to our estimation of who this Jesus of Nazareth is. Is He a failed prophet, a misguided teacher, a good man?

What is your estimation of this Man named Jesus?

Who do you say He is?



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