Be-attitudes | Transforming Truths

teach-fishing

Jesus begins to bring hope to a lost world in Matthew 5.  It is said you can give a fish to a man and feed him for a day or you can teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.

Jesus did not come to earth just to heal the effects of sin on mankind’s body. We see him before Matthew 5 surrounded with large crowds of people who are broken physically, mentally and spiritually.  Jesus reached out and healed them all.  Then Jesus began to teach as He spoke works of life to the crowd.  He began to teach kingdom truth that would equip men to become mighty in their own spirits through Christ to overcome the chains of sin and destruction in their families.

Jesus began to speak with the same voice that created the universe.  Out of Christ’s heart and through His mouth holy words of truth poured forth.  The spirit of Christ spoke to those who heard him that day and their spirits began to awaken in the presence of the creator.

Jesus began to describe the process of one’s spirit as he begins to journey from the chains of sin and selfishness to one who becomes one with Christ as an overcomer of sin.  That day Jesus transitioned from healing a man to teaching him truths that would bring continued healing and health in his spirit.

The first teachings of Christ is called the beatitudes.  It is the BE-attitudes and not the DO-attitudes.  Christ is sharing truth that will mold us to BECOME rather than a TO-DO list.  Truths in Christ change us from glory to glory.  2 Cor. 3:18

superman kid

Let us become mighty in Christ by hearing and receiving truth.  Not one who is always looking for God to heal them but rather to BECOME Christ-like with healing truths inside.  It is not easy but it is very much worth the effort.  Follow along as our spirits come alive and we BECOME Christ like by learning Christ’s BEATTITUDES.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:3   May God awaken hope in you today to receive truth from His word.  May it become Light-n-side.

The Star & seekers, sleepers and seethers

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While looking at the story of the of the wise men in Matthew chapter two I find three types of people listed.  First are the wise men.  I will call them the “seekers”.  It is said they saw the star of a king and followed it to Bethlehem.

While Jesus was born in the very lowest and humble of situations the heavenly response of His birth was altogether different.

There were a multitude of angels that terrified some shepherds announcing the birth of a king and a savior to all men.  There was also the star.  Many different explanations from astrological science and learned men explain in their way the star that  the wise men saw.  My belief is it was a supernatural event drawing a group of men looking for something more than ordinary direction. Other translations call these people a Magi.  They were from the Mede nation.  The Magi were high priests and it was their job to establish, appoint and if necessary remove a king.  At this time in history they were without a king and was looking for new one.  It is possible there were several groups of wise men looking for a suitable king.  But I believe these wise men were seeking more than an ordinary king.  They were seeking a true Godly king.  And just as in the Old Testament God led Israel by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21),

light

I believe God supernaturally reveled a hope and a light that attracts seeking men to the savior.

These wise men left their home traveling and seeking the light of the star in search of a king.  In the Christmas season is there a drawing to Christ in your life.  Do you sense the Holy Spirit sending you a light or desire to follow and find more about Christ?  Are you a “seeker”?

When the wise men arrived in Bethlehem the king found out about the wise men and their talk of a new king.  His first reaction was anger. He was threatened from his own position that he had clawed, plotted, and who know what to be king.

The King’s was not “seeking”,  but he was “seething”.

Any opposition to the king was met with pain and death.  In today’s world there are many who are seething at the mention of the Christmas story.  They do not want to hear truth of a moral and righteous lifestyle.  It is a threat to their own kingdom.  Does the story of Christ and a moral righteous life cause you discomfort or anger?  Do you want all decoration and the songs of the Biblical Christmas story to disappear?  Are you a “seether”?

Then there is the town of Bethlehem.  These people were busy.  In Luke 2:7 it says there was no room in the inn.  The town knew the Bible and were in church on Sundays but were too busy or distracted to have time for the real meaning of Christmas.

They were not seeking or seething,  but rather they were “sleeping”.  Life to busy and distracted to be awakened to seek Christ.

What are some things in our life that can put us to sleep spiritually?  Some that come to mind are work, sports, social media, entertainment, and family.  None of these are wrong but they make us so busy there is no time for God.

Make a set time in your daily activity to “Seek” Christ.

Begin a daily habit to read scripture and a time of prayer.  It does not have to be long.  If ever there was a time we need to know there is a God it is today.  Allow the light of the Holy Spirit to draw your heart to the baby Jesus.  The wise men had to look up over all that was around them and saw the light the God sent to them.  He is sending you a light from His heart to follow Him.

looking-up

Take time to look up above all distractions and see His light that will guide you to Christ.

 

 

This Christmas season be a “seeker”. 

Don’t “seethe” or “sleep” at the Biblical Christmas story.  May God bless you and your family this Christmas season and in the New Year.

Silent Confessions of secret postings

girls posting social media

Q How can I stay on top of all my child’s online use? 
I don’t normally read Family Circle..really.  But I did see an article that caught my eye.  I noticed a  graphic showing what young girls posts that they do not want their parents to see.  The over use of social media is threatening our youths self image, their spiritual life, and their ability of experiencing real life and conversation outside posting and texting.
Real life is from our relationship with God and Christ through our spirit in prayer and mediation. Real life is meal conversation  without a phone.  Reality is not found by posting, tweeting,  or friending.

Challenge your family to have a balance between Bible and Prayer vs online presence.

Psalms 1:1-3 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,   or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither,  and they prosper in all they do.
Q. What can I do?
  • Keep an open conversation about what is appropriate online.
  • Share spiritual truths.  Pray with them.
  • Get them involved in church youth groups.
  • Decide how much social media  time is enough.
  • Discuss what you post has infinite consequences
  • Make it a condition of online access that you have their password.
  • Log on once in a while to check on them.
  • Discuss texting can have LEGAL Consequences
  • and of course if needed…Take away their phone.

follow me - Jesus

Character observed

The true journey in life is not necessarily what is achieved on the outside but rather what is achieved inside.

election 2016Are you watching the presidential election parade?  No matter what party you identify with there are a wide range of participants trying to position themselves to the American people why they should be the best candidate to lead this country.  We and the media (left and right) focus on some of the main character traits and flaws of each candidate.  It is through the lens of their trait or flaw that evaluate them and filter what they say.

road to characterI am reading the book “Road to Character” by David Brooks.  I am stuck in the chapter on humility. He writes “The humble person is soothing and gracious, while the self-promoting person is fragile and jarring.  Humility is freedom from the need to prove you are superior all the time, but egotism is a ravenous hunger in a small space – self-concerned, competitive and distinction-hungry.”

Today people are told they are all special and on a journey in life to achieve something great. So kids begin to go through life expecting or demanding special treatment not because of their abilities but because they are special.  There is a demand or expectation of success and purpose placed in our lives but the true nature of the person remains broken.

The true journey in life is not necessarily what is achieved on the outside but rather what is achieved inside. 

While the outward life of success and achievement is important the greater struggle is the battle of our inner person. David says “Truly humble people are engaged in the effort to magnify what is best in themselves and defeat what is worst, to become strong in the weak places.”

One of my favorite scriptures touches in this area.  It is James 3:13-1613 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”  Verse 15 describes three traits of man’s wisdom.  I like the King James version which says “This wisdom descended not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.”

My take on these three areas of man’s wisdom are as follows. Earthly – follow the crowd. See what society determines as acceptable and join that crowd.  Justify your actions compared to society.  Sensual – allow your emotions and desires to determine your choices.


Rage without reason seems to be the norm today
.

 

rage 1

Many people suffer because of choices made in an emotional moment. Devilish – you always have the devils influence to temp you into a bad choice.

James 3:17-18 speak about the cure of poor wisdom and selfish behavior.  Finding a Godly wisdom that focuses on our inward person rather than the outward performance. “17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

David writes concerning selfish people. “The desire to use other people as a means to get things for yourself.  It also leads to pride, the desire to see yourself as superior to everyone else. People who are humble are aware that we are all built from “crooked timber” from Immanuel Kant’s famous line “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

Whoever you follow in the coming elections you will see traits that may offend you.  Let us also look inward to make sure we are fighting against similar traits and imperfections.  This is not a battle you can win alone.  It takes a friend who will hold you accountable.  It takes a relationship with Christ who will help revel the “crooked timber” in your life.  Follow God’s wisdom in His word to better equip your inner self.

At the end of your life the great reward will not be acceptance and applaud from the world but rather a “well done good and faithful servant” spoken from God.  Fight the good fight inwardly and “God please help this country.”

Father’s Day 2015 – Nevertheless means HOPE

Dad Dave Josh golfHappy Father’s day!  This will be a more difficult day for me and many others.   My father a few years 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 26:38My 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.

In Matthew 26:39 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.  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 “neverthelessnot 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 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 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 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.

The Prodigal Son’s Brother

The “good brother’s” dark side.

Prodigal Son’s Brother

Page-HGTV-Brother-v-BrotherLuke 15:11-32.   Much is written about the prodigal son who because of his own lust and rebellion demands his inheritance before his father’s death to live life to the fullest.  Of course the illusion of the sinful plans quickly places the son in ruins.  He has lost his fun, friends and himself.  Finally he begins to think about his life with the father.  The life he thought empty and dull were now suddenly rewarding and rich.  So he decides to return home in hopes of becoming at least a servant in his father’s house. Just to get a portion of the blessed life.

His father on the other hand sees the lost son coming home.  The father runs and reaches out his hands toward the lost son.  This is before any confession or apology of the son.  The actions of the father so overwhelmed the son’s expectations. He is accepted back into the family. A new family ring and robe is placed on the son and a feast given. Nothing is said about punishment or of the pain he caused the father. He is totally restored. This is a powerful picture of Christ’s love in action for us.

Now the prodigal son has a brother who witnessed all the actions of his little rebellious brother.  The other son has not left the father. He is faithful, consistent, self-disciplined and loyal.  But he has a flaw. He too is a prodigal son in his own thoughts of himself.  He feels his works and actions should recognize his father’s gratitude over the lost sons return.  He believes he is better than the son because of his actions. “Look at me, see what I have done. Look at my efforts.”  It is a slippery slope when we are aware of our efforts and begin to think those efforts make us worthy of God’s grace. Slowly we change in our attitudes:  Pride vs humility, works vs sinful repentance and, Justification vs coming clean with ourselves before God..

hypocriteWe are all a part of the two sons. We experience sin and brokenness. We also justify ourselves by works compared to other people. While we may experience some security by not publically becoming broken and coming home for all to see the errors of our ways, we may be in more danger of losing the blessings of God through justification and comparison.

There is a greater danger in our hearts as we only look outward at the troubles of others.  Christ said before you comment on others make sure your eyes are clean.  I have had this truth slap me in the face as I see issues coming up on the media.  We are all lost without God’s grace.  It is not what we do but whom we believe in and follow.

The biblical account of the prodigal’s brother ends without a repentance.

You cannot find joy, peace and freedom without continually coming to the cross and allow God to once again wash you.

Who am I? Why am I here?

Who-Am-IIn our postmodern world we see many people feeling disconnected from purpose and hope.  Wealth and material things seem to have no saving grace when it comes to the deep issues of  personal value and purpose.  It should be noted as the world has increased in science, medicine and amazing inventions, we also are experiencing deeper drug addiction, violence, depression and suicide. Why?

In the book “The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World” there are four basic questions we all ask in some form.

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is wrong with the world?

What can fix it?

These answers depends on your worldview.  The difference between these answers in our postmodern worldview are vastly different from the Biblical worldview.  See the comparison chart at the bottom of this post to identify many differences between current worldviews than those of even 100 years ago.

Let’s answer just the first question…Who am I?

Current world view – Who am I?

DNA-New

These answers are provided by secular humanists of today. You are the result of random evolutionary processes. Many people come from loving parents but some may have been unplanned or the result of an act of violence. There is no eternal connection to purpose. All nature has the same right to exist as you. No real purpose in life except to enjoy yourself. This worldview allows abortion, changing of sexual identity, assistance for death when desired.  This worldview does not deal with our soul so a feeling of emptiness and constant searching is common.

Biblical Answer: Who am I?

 You are God’s crowning creation!

Psalms 8:4-6 “what is mankind that you are mindful of them,     human beings that you care for them?  You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” 

Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  

It does not matter what the circumstance of your conception was. When the sperm and egg combined God began to create a perfect you with dignity, honor and purpose. You are God’s crowning creation.

psalm-139-14-feafully-and-wonderfully-made

Psalms 139:13
 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s wombI praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully madeyour works are wonderful, I know that full well.

You are special. Created by God and for Him.  Don’t let the lies of this world and Satan convince you otherwise.

In God’s eyes you have dignity, and honor…you are God’s crowning creation.

cat-lion

Comparison of two different worldviews

Biblical Worldview  to 100 years ago.

Eternity is stamped into every decision

Sin – judgement – salvation

Man’s Spirit – God fed – relationship

God – All powerful, intelligent, necessary being

 Man – Made in God’s image Gen 1:26-28

Truth – Absolute – God’s word – same for all

Post Modern (contemporary) worldview

Needs and wants at the center.

Feelings –disappearance of sin – heaven for all

Man’s Spirit –Nothingness  stressed – closed system

No God – Man is at the center – He explains the world

Man – A single cell organism – evolution to Ape then man.

No Truth –  Experiences – Feelings trump truth – different for everyone.

The SUPERMAN verse.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

superman kid

Did you know there is a superman verse in our Bible?  You hear it all the time.  It’s quoted when under pressure or when trying to get the courage to ask a girl out on a date maybe.  When speaking to a group of people or applying for a new job.

 

Former football star Tim Tebow had the superman verseTebow reference right under his eyes.  The verse is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  So if you have two athletes competing against each other and both claim this verse doesn’t one have to lose? Does that mean the verse is not always true? Maybe the verse is misused or can this verse really mean you can do ALL things. How about running the mini-marathon without training.  I mean what does the meaning of “all things” really mean?

While I do believe Christ does give us power,  this verse has been used way outside it’s original purpose. In fact the original use of this verse was not to do fantastic feats never before seen by man.  It was used at the end of a discussion about living life in such a way to be happy and content what ever the situation.  Being content may be a challenge in today’s hyper emotional, fearful, hurting and socially confused society.

To understand the meaning of this verse we need to start at the beginning of Paul’s statement. He is talking to the church about how to live a calm life when all around there are temptations to your emotions and faith.  Paul gives us three specific rules to follow which will enable us to endure and manage anything in life without losing our sanity and do something we will regret later.

In Philippians 4:4 we are to rejoice in Lord always. This is number one.  In any situation no matter the tragedy there is always something to rejoice in the Lord about.  Even in the death of a young child one can rejoice in the Lord that we could enjoy his or her life for a time.  We can rejoice the God takes good care of children in heaven.  By making the choice of finding something to rejoice even in dark times we are protecting ourselves from the dark places our mind and heart would go.  In everything you can find something to thank God for and rejoice.  Second, go to God in prayer about your situation.  Tell Him all the bad, the good, the ugly, and the dreams.  Verse six tells us not to bottle up our stress in worry but rather express our fears and hopes to God.  Just telling God our issues brings peace to the heart.  And finally in verse eight Paul says we need to choose what we allow our minds to think about.  The verse says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Recently in a devotion concerning this verse I had to confess my pattern of thinking over an issue that I am facing.  When I confessed this to the class and changed my thinking to  the good benefits I felt more  peaceful.

contentmentPaul is telling this church if you practice these three things, “Praise, Pray, Ponder” you will  enjoy a life of contentment rather than stress and worry.   This takes practice.  You have to learn to apply these rules.  They are not natural to our emotions.  It is a learned behavior.  But if applied through intentional efforts you will be able to handle  situations you find yourself in and be more at peace.

Paul ends up this instruction with the more correct version of the super verse.  In the NIV Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all THIS through him (Christ) who gives me strength.” The word THIS refers to the three steps mentioned in verses 4-12.  I don’t know what you are facing this week.  But I know this truth can be applied to you if you practice the three steps of Praise (find something to thank God for in the situation), Pray (tell God all about it), and Ponder (control what your mind dwells on).  Practice these three steps and you will able to endure and enjoy life.  With Christ’s power and a determination to practice these steps and you will become a superstar.  Live life in peace and contentment and you will live with LIGHT-N-SIDE.