Psalms 34:17-19 Brokenhearted

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; Psalm 34:17‭-‬19 NIV

beauty girl cry

 

The world is full of pain.

Psalms 23 talks of the shadow of death and the presence of my enemies. But in both verses GOD is there. He is with us.  Eight years ago my father was killed in a car  crash.   It was a few days before father’s day. As I was grieving I found something that others had commented about in tough times, God’s Grace.  He was there supporting me and my family in our brokenhearted time. His Grace was sufficient.  People would often say ” I would not be able to bear death of loved ones”. Yes you can because GOD is also there. His presence in the trouble adds support, strength, presence, and healing.

In my grieving I wrote an article called “nevertheless”. I have sent this to many people facing death of loved ones. I believe this truth placed a lightnside their “shadow of death”.

 

Nevertheless

 

Father’s day is just a few weeks away.  This will be a more difficult day for me and many others.   My father died two months ago in a car accident.  He was a great father and good Christian man.  While meditating on things that bring healing and hope I came across a powerful and unusual word in the Bible that has helped me greatly to process the loss and gave me comfort.

The word was spoken by Christ at a time of His greatest challenge.

It was in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was only hours away from death on the cross.  During this time the humanity of Christ was in total agony.  In His mind and imagination came the visions of what was going to physically happen soon.  He had seen other people crucified.  Not only the physical death but He was to die for all man’s sins. The stress of the situation is recorded in Matthew 26:38 “My soul is sorrowful, even to death…”  The Bible records His physical, mental and spiritual condition was so stressed that even His sweat was mingled with blood.  The rock He cried out to God on was red with Jesus struggle. Jesus spoke to His father in prayer and said “Father, if there be any other way…please let this cup pass from me.”

 

Then Jesus spoke a powerful word.  “Nevertheless”

You will not think of this word as one of the great words like faith, hope or love. It’s not recorded in the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes.   The great word Jesus spoke was “nevertheless”.  What an odd word to find comfort in!  It is a word of transition.  It means although the topic before the word is true, the topic after this word is more true.  Jesus said to his Father “nevertheless,  not my will but Yours”.   Everything changed! Jesus rose up a conqueror of death and brought hope to all of us through His death on the cross.

The word is used in 2 Cor. 3:14-16 where the Bible talks about those without Christ living in a darkness of Spiritual realities.  Many are living day to day trying to find peace and direction without God.   All their efforts lead eventually to emptiness.  Peace and purpose in life is fulfilled only through Christ.  The Bible says there is a veil covering their hearts and minds keeping them in a state of darkness.  Even as Christians share their experiences it seems unclear or even foolishness to them.  However,  in verse 16 the word “nevertheless” is used to say as they turn to Christ the veil is taken away.  Peace, hope and direction in life have come to them through a relationship with Christ.

 

As I answered the life changing phone call…

As I answered the life changing phone call letting me know my dad had died the world turned upside down for me and my family.  Although many people are experiencing death each week the permanent emptiness settled on our family.   In the last few weeks this word kept coming back to me…nevertheless.  Dad is gone; nevertheless I will one day see him again.   His advice can no longer be received; nevertheless he has raised me with a life of examples and wisdom.    The death was instant and without warning, nevertheless he was a righteous man ready to meet God.

The word nevertheless helps us deal with life.

The word nevertheless helps us deal with the realities of life that are hard, painful and frustrating by reminding ourselves of the truths in Christ that are promised in God’s word.  It helps us deal with life by claiming God’s promises.  You might be in a difficult place today.  With Christ you can say…nevertheless the promises of God are true.  It may seem a silly word to focus on but it can replace fear with faith, stress with  confidence,  and  sadness with joy.  God has a “nevertheless” promise for you.

Simon Peter

Simon Peter fished all night with no luck.  Jesus asked him to simply place the net on the other side of the boat!  His response changed his life for ever in Luke 5:5 he said to Jesus “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.’’  His net was full and so can your heart as we apply a God’s words to our situations.

Psalms 34:8 Taste and See

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 NIV

 

I don’t like Brussels Sprouts.

How do I know? They look weird. You say “Have you ever tasted them?”.  “No” I say.  “I don’t like them.”  “I don’t need to taste them because I know they will not taste good.” This was my belief concerning Brussels Sprouts for the last 61 years until about three weeks ago.  At the Teen Challenge center there was a plate of Brussels Sprouts on the kitchen table.

At a dare I ate one…! Amazing.

It was not bad. In fact it was kind of tasty.  For 61 years I knew I would not like it.  I was imagining the taste from a non-tasting organ, my eyes.  They did not look appealing so therefore the taste was sure to be displeasing. And I was wrong.

 

So many feel this way about trying GOD.

They see GOD as a lot of “don’ts” and “thou shalt not’s”. GOD is not seen as a protective, loving and yes, disciplining father. Instead GOD is seen as judgmental, restricting, and a harsh all seeing GOD looking for you to fail. So taste and see? Put GOD to the test.  Taste the truth and protection of His word and commandments.  See the protection and prevention of harm  they surround your life with.  Taste Faith in Christ as you read out to Him in prayer and see the peace and joy of His presence.

A challenging commandment to taste?

My thoughts were wrong about Brussels Sprouts for 61 years.  Maybe your thoughts concerning  one of His commands is a challenge to believe. Tithing, forgiving,  treating enemies with kindness.  Maybe it’s not  so much of an unbelief as it is a resistance to obey. Either way,  give it a nibble. There is power and blessing with each bite. It is only with the taking in of GOD that His goodness is released in your life.

Hmmmmmm it’s so good

Taste and see.  Hmmmmmm it’s so good. You will want more and more. No one can eat just one.  It’s finger lick’n good. It will put lightnside your heart and life.  Go ahead…taste and see that the Lord is good.

Is your day getting Brighter?

Sanctification is the progressive narrowing of the gap between confessional faith and functional faith.

 

 prov 4.18 sun

 

Thoughts from the book You can change by Tim Chester.

In a chapter dealing with identifying the cause of destructive behavior he deals with the thought of Christian not trusting God outside the church doors or outside of known Biblical truths.  He brings up a very interesting scripture that I have not noticed. Romans 14:23 “What ever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

“Not many people think of themselves as someone who believes lies. But every time we don’t trust God’s word we’re believing something else, and that something else is always a lie. If I get angry when I’m stuck in traffic, it’s because I don’t trust God.  I believe the lie that God is not in control or that His purposes for me are not good.”

Our negative emotions are a symptom of unbelief.  He states “When we are bitter or depressed, it is because we believe God is not being good to us or that He is not in control.

Not many Christians think of themselves as unbelievers.  More often it arises from functional or practical disbelief.  The problem lie in the gap between what we believe in theory and what we believe in practice.

Sanctification is the progressive narrowing of the gap between confessional faith and functional faith.

This is a powerful thoughtful truth that can help us in our daily walk.

read and meditate on these two scriptures.

Proverbs 4:18-23  and Jeremiah 17:5-8  Some scripture quotes from these passages (still read the complete tests).

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (In the car, work, life)

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight,
    keep them within your heart;  for they are life to those who find them  and health to one’s whole body.

Romans 14:23 “What ever does not proceed from faith is sin.”   Wow, this chapter is an eye opener to trusting in God and resting in His faithfulness and control of my life every day.  

Join me in practicing this truth as we make our days brighter knowing that God is there. No shadow of turning from us (James 1:17)

So tomorrow we will get up and trust in God.  The day and our life will brighten up as we live with LIGHT N SIDE.

Wells and Water

Why are you bored?

bored-baby-1284

What causes boredom? Can we find things in life that will continue to bring fulfillment?

John 4:4-26

Jesus meets a lonely outcast woman at a well.  She is an outcast from society because of her choices in life.  Jesus asks her for a drink of water.  This woman gives a harsh rebuke  to Jesus showing her dreary, dark heart.  Jesus begins to speak of living water that will constantly quench a thirst.   Believe me this woman is thirsty.  Not only for natural water but for meaning and purpose and joy.  This woman senses Jesus is offering something that will bring satisfaction. The woman asks Jesus to giver her this water to quench a recurring thirst. Jesus responds with a strange request. Jesus asks her to go and bring back her husband.  She says she does not have one.  Jesus told her she has had five husbands and the current man she was with was not her husband.

Jesus understood and revealed to this woman she is not only seeking water from a natural well, she is also seeking happiness and fulfillment  from a well that will never bring lasting refreshment.  This woman is drinking from the well of sexual partners to quench her hearts thirst. This well was refreshing for a while then she became bored and was thirsty again…for something more.  There are many types of wells people are drinking from to fill their lives.  To name a few: entertainment, drugs, alcohol, sexual experiences, constant social media, gaming and escaping through tv, books, etc.

Only living water quenches a thirsty heart.

John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Also read Isaiah 55:1 and Revelation 22:17.

We grow bored in life because we are perusing the pleasures that sin offers but lasts only for a small time and then more longing for something…more. If you are fighting depression, boredom and gloom.  Call out to the one who can give you lasting joy.  Chances are you are seeking excitement and meaning in an area that is not good for you.  A relationship with Christ and a daily biblical reading and prayer will fill your heart with joy.  Jesus told the woman His water is a refreshing spring of living water that will satisfy.

Believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring refreshing so you can enjoy life and walk daily with LIGHT-N-SIDE.

Proverbs 32:3-5 Listen to your body

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord .” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.  Psalm 32:3‭-‬5 NIV11

man in pain

We sin

As a  Christian we enjoy the power of God and the presence of Christ.  However we are still part of the fallen nature of man.  We sin.  We are turned by our desires and traps designed by our enemy (James 1:14-15  “14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.“)  Like King David our eyes see something we may not even have been looking for.  Our carnal fallen nature rises up and we find ourselves falling into sin.

We Justify

The first response is to justify and minimize the sin.  Using our logic we devise a world where we can live with the pleasure and pretend it has no effect our relationship with God.  But, we notice a dryness of God’s presence.  The desire of seeking God’s presence is reduced or replaced.  Day after day a decrease of seeking God is replaced by the carnal desires you tasted and liked.

Listen to your body

If this is you,  listen to your body and heart.  As David described during his sin his body reacted to the lack of God’s presence.  There is a pressure and groaning in our bodies.  You feel it.  Trying to escape this pressure you keep yourself occupied with distractions and entertainment. But all along a Christian’s body that houses God’s presence moans and  suffers. The joy of God’s presence is dampened as the Holy Spirit calls for repentance.  This is a difficult and uncomfortable feeling.  The clash of God’s presence with our selfish desires is an inward battle.

Confess and enjoy

I am glad the Holy Spirit does not give up.  I know I need to confess and reject that carnal pleasure that was birthed by gossip, lust, anger, or any other emotion.  Once I begin to confess this to God, a sweet presence floods my life.  I am forgiven.  I am free of the inward pain. The joy of seeking God and His word returns and strengthens me.  We serve a great God who knows we are part of a fallen world.  He understands and His grace covers us during these times of wondering.  We can continue to reject Christ to our own shame and judgement but as I confess, I am restored.

Jesus prayed for Simon “before” he denied Christ

Jesus prayed for Peter (also called Simon) when He saw his future denial of Christ.  Luke 22:31-32 NIV “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. [32] But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Proverbs 31:30 A Beautiful Woman

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NIV

freedom girl

 

What is a lasting quality in a woman?

Is it her words? Is it her looks? No, it is her faith. There is nothing more graceful, loving, and wonderful to see is a woman shut off from the world and closed in with her creator.

Attraction

Much of the worlds idea of attraction is a sultry voice and a smile.  The real woman’s use of her voice is lifting praise and prayers to God in her home and in her church.  A mother lifting up praises of thanksgiving for her family.  She is aware of God’s goodness and greatness.  She teaches her children to follow God’s commands.

 

Beauty shines from the heart.

Not just from  the makeup and the hair coloring.  It is the reflection of God’s spirit from her heart reflecting out of her face.   The grace from worship is beautiful to see.  God created women to carry and birth life into the family.  A Godly woman constantly births God’s presence and purpose into her family through her prayers and modeling her life of worship and love. Age has no bearing on this beauty.  It is GOD based. How many  look back at the prayers of their mothers that birthed hope for them.

Look beyond the outer shell.

Are you looking for a girl friend?  Are you looking for  someone to raise a family?  Look beyond the outer shell.  Of course beauty and communication are part of the attraction. But go beyond and observe her relationship with God in private and in public.  Notice her moral standards.  What makes her laugh and cry.  As you seek a woman of God you will be so blessed as the years go by.  Your marriage and family will have lightnside.

Proverbs 18:22 NIV  He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

Superbowl MVP – Christ!

Both teams share one commonality.  On each team there are bold Christian proclaiming their faith in Christ .  It is difficult for the media to stand still as Christ’s name is proclaimed and many of these spots do not make it to prime time TV.  Below are two links I found this morning reflecting members of each team sharing their faith.

superbowl 52

I am a Colt’s fan.  But after the win and the proclamation of faith in Christ from the coach and players I had to order a Eagles Superbowl cap.  I will wear it gladly to join in their faith of the greatest competition in the universe.  The super-super-competition of life eternal with Christ.  You are a player in this game.  Listen to your heavenly coach, King Jesus.  He has many plays to get you beyond the competition and into the kingdom touchdown.

Eagles quarterback “I want to be a pastor”.

 

Patriots Leader Praises Eagles’ Faith

 

Watching the game last night I was impressed with both teams.  I laughed at most of the commercials (Tide and Eli dancing were the best).  But the bold testimonies of men giving Christ the highest praise place a real lightnside my heart.

 

 

Romans 2:1-11 Part 3 – Saved by Works?

Romans 2:5-11 NIV

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath , when his righteous judgment will be revealed. [6] God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” [7] To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. [8] But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. [9] There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; [10] but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. [11] For God does not show favoritism.

 

working hard

 

Saved by works?  Judged by works?  How does this work with faith in Christ alone?

When we stand before God in judgement.  We will not be judged according to what we believe, but on what we have done.  In Revelation 20:11-13 “11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.” These verses seem confusing when the Bible clearly states we can never be righteous enough on our own.  It is only through the work of Christ and the revealing of God’s righteousness on us that puts us in a save relationship with God.  Then how do we reconcile this verse?

 

NOT WORKS … EVIDENCE

 

The focus of these verses are focused on the evidence of a changed life. You might say these verses are looking to find proof a life in Christ and living in the Holy Spirit.  Becoming a Christian is more that the initial salvation.  It is a lifestyle.  We learn to walk in the new life and learn to be led by the spirit.  Our relationship to others will change as well as our nature is changing.  We are becoming more and more Christ-like.

If there is no change in your life and behavior it is an indication there was never a change.  Christ in you will change you.  The Holy Spirit in you will change you.  The well of life flowing up in your heart brings peace, joy and power that spreads out into relationships and actions.

What we do reflects who we are inside.

There is a danger in some of our beliefs and traditions.  Some beliefs who baptize babies believing they are forever saved or maybe you believe speaking a prayer one time and now you are forever saved.  The Bible is very clear about salvation that is instant but is also clear there is an behavior of evidence following a commitment in Christ.   Works will never save us.  But when Christ lives in us there is an evidence of our works that point to the work of Christ in us.  Notice the last two verses that follow after Paul write about judging behavior. They are verse 7 & 8. “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. [8] But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.  Choices create behaviors that is reflected in works.

When I stand before God.

There will be a book opened revealing my works.  It will record mistakes but I do believe there will be a thread of righteousness from God’s Righteousness that has worked itself through my life in doing good.  I will always wrestle with sin but the evidence of Christ in me is my repentance, seeking God’s direction and living by the Holy Spirit.  It is in my works, my life, my lightnside.

Romans 2:1-11 Part 2 – Two ways God reacts to sin (Wrath and Kindness)

Romans 2:4-5 NIV

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? [5] But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath , when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

Rainbow-In-Real-Life-Wallpaper

God’s Kindness

What is God’s kindness?  His forbearance (restraint and tolerance) and patience.  Read 2 Peter 3:3-15. God’s goodness is in the rainbow.  It is in the sunshine.  God is good.  He sent His only Son to forever live with the mark of suffering on the cross.  This was done as we were enemies of God (Romans 5:8).  God’s goodness with Adam and Eve by providing a covering for them and to develop a relationship again with man through the nation Israel.

God’s Patience and Goodness leads to Salvation

How many times in your past have you felt the goodness of God knowing something supernatural has intervened in your life.  Like a time where you should have been hurt or died  but somehow remain safe.  Like when  your car breaks down in a safe place or your home instead of a more dangerous place. It is these times we know something good has happened.  God’s goodness happens many  times when many are living in opposition to Him.  But it is the patience and forbearance in these events that should lead them to the knowledge that God is good and worth following. The Holy Spirit is at work drawing people to Christ.

Satan’s fight against God’s patience

During this patience of God,  there is still wrath being built up toward that final day of judgement.  But it is God’s desire that during this time of patience and goodness men would repent and the blood of Jesus will erase all sin.  The enemy is also at work to cause death which brings judgement and wrath on those who rejected God.  They did not acknowledge His goodness and the calling of the Holy Spirit in time.  Thank God for his patience and goodness in your life and your lightnside.

Romans 2:1-11 Part 1 Judging others

Romans 2:1 NIV

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

judging

 

Judging others is a self-righteous pastime.

When we slip away from the knowledge of our brokenness we naturally begin  building ourselves up by identifying the brokenness of others.  In a way we are saying “I am a more righteous person than you.”  If you both fall into the mud and you climb out before the other person,  do you really have the right to say “I am cleaner than you?”  Both are muddy.  The act of judging others produces a stern warning from God.  Just the practice  of identifying sins in other people can highlight that sin in yourself.  And God takes notice.

Actions vs attitudes

Looking again at the list of sins in Romans 1:26-31 there were several action sins (sexual, murder, violence inventor of evil things).  But there were also attitudes (envy, proud, unmerciful, etc).  As we begin to look and judge others as  worse than ourselves are we not guilty of pride, boasting, and being unmerciful?  We can begin to worship the created (us) rather than the creator(God).  We begin to take away from God the honor and thankfulness due Him (Rom 1:21).  We will begin to have futile thoughts of our own righteousness.

 

Remember the story of the prodigal son?

The hidden story is the second son.  Not the one who ran away with his portion of dad’s inheritance (and dad was not even dead yet).   Not the one who spent all his money on wild parties and pleasures.  Not the son who came back broken and humble.  Not the son who was welcomed back into the family by dad.  I’m talking about the other son who stayed and worked the fields every day.  He obeyed his father.  This son, when he heard the celebration and found out the “sinful” son had come back,  refused to come in and join the celebration. Dad even went out in the field to talk with him but this second son’s judgmental,  selfish, and hardened heart only saw himself as more righteous than his brother .  He only saw his brother as someone who did not deserve forgiveness. This judging hardened his own heart.

There really was two prodigal sons.

The one who sins greatly repented and was forgiven.  The other prodigal son who never left the house(church)…the bible does not say he ever repented.

Do you find yourself judging others?  “They are a bunch of …..”  He or she are very …”

Be careful.  God notices.  He is kind with forbearance and patience for you to repent.  Don’t build up wrath for the day of judgement.  Rather build up thankfulness and be merciful to others. Let us keep our lightnside and our eyes on the knowledge of  what Christ has done for us.