Devotional

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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Jesus · Kingdom of God · Love

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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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

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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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

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 · Church · Kingdom of God

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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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

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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New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

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

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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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

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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Jesus · Kingdom of God · Love

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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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

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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