Category Archives: Discipleship

Owning the Scriptures

It was the middle of the 15th century before a person could purchase a copy of a Bible that had been printed instead of transcribed by hand. Reduction in the cost of printing continued to progress until in 1579, a law was created in Scotland that required every household that could afford to do so to purchase a copy of a translation of Scriptures into English called the Geneva Bible.

Jews were still arguing about what to include in the Hebrew version of Scripture in the 1st century, so having a one-volume version of the Old Testament was only possible much later than that. This means that for their first several hundred years of existence, the Church had various scrolls available to a few scholars, and a few letters from their leaders that were copied by hand and circulated among the rest of the leaders.

Having to lean on the leadership of the Holy Spirit made them successful. Now that we have the Scriptures available in hundreds of English versions, we should be even more successful. I have, in my pocket computer (smart phone) 11 English translations, Strong’s concordance and dictionary, Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (a 3″-thick  huge cross-reference book), and other dictionaries and commentaries.

The Scriptures can inform us, but they cannot change us. Only the work of the Holy Spirit can transform us into the likeness of Jesus. The Pharisees had the Scriptures available to them memorized. They still could not recognize Jesus apart from the empowerment of the Spirit.

Owning the Scriptures is a gift that has immeasurable value, including the lives of many translators, but it amounts to maps and road signs in contrast to the Holy Spirit being the means of transportation we need to get moving.

Read the maps, and learn how to read the signs on the highways. Then, ask the Holy Spirit where to go and with whom.

Letting Jesus In

In the Revelation of Jesus that John received, this was the message Jesus sent to the believers called to be the church in Laodicia:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.
(Revelation 3:14-21 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Jesus was not knocking at the door of an unbeliever’s heart, hoping to save her/him. He was knocking at the door of the congregations, or at the home of believers in those congregations in Laodicia, wanting to be welcomed among them. They didn’t know that they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. They thought that they were free of needs.

All of us, to some degree, are suffering from blindness to some of our weaknesses and distractions. We are very sensitive to our financial or health needs, but the more important spiritual needs are difficult to discern. We need to have frequent visits from Jesus, during which we ask Him how we are. Even then, we are in danger of resembling James’ description of seeing our faces in the mirror Jesus holds in front of us and turning away unchanged.

A visit from Jesus is sometimes painful, but always beneficial.

Back Seat Driver

But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
(Colossians 3:8-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

If you are driving well and have to listen to someone in the back seat instructing you to speed up, slow down, change lanes, turn here, et cetera, it can be annoying. If you are living in surrender to the Spirit of Jesus, it will be costly to your flesh. However much of your flesh (the old man) is still around will be making lots of noise when you obey the King.

Requiring your flesh to be silent about how much something costs or about serving someone who has abused you or anything else that requires death to your flesh will prevent you from derailing in your obedience. Allowing that old man to continue to make noise in the back seat can distract you. The Holy Spirit fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) will give you power to throw the old man out of the car.

So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:21-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Love Overflow

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Here is a mystery. How can my love grow until it overflows into knowledge and discernment? Is it my love for my Father that draws me into His presence so closely that revelation is inescapable? Is it that bearing the fruit of His Spirit makes me trustworthy of the revelation?

Meditate on this and discover the answer. Seek the deeper place of love, and find the benefits of selfless life – abundant Life. Read it a few times and open your mind for answers about what it needs to mean in your days and nights.

Always Faithful

Our Creator has designed us so that we are always under the influence of faith. The poison that has affected all of humanity in a way that twists our use of faith includes having the knowledge that there is good and evil (Genesis 3:22-24). The knowledge from the tree of death did not include knowing good from evil, just the surprise that they exist.

What we believe of consequences or other future concepts is formed by our faith. What we believe of origins of the universe or humanity is formed by our faith. What some people call our “world view” is our “statement of faith.”

Faith in one idea that opposes another idea or other ideas amounts to doubt in those other ideas. So, we always have doubt, too.

When we aim or focus our faith, we drive the consequences of our acts and words to comply with our faith. We can bring good or evil into the earth by faith. Since we only know the difference by the revelation the Holy Spirit gives us of what righteousness is, we need to submit to Him for what Paul listed as one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: fullness of faith.

Here’s a story that includes Jesus attributing a woman’s success to aiming her faith at her desire:

A woman suffering from bleeding for 12 years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His robe. For she said, “If I can just touch His robes, I’ll be made well!” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was cured of her affliction.

At once Jesus realized in Himself that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My robes?”

His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing against You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'”

So He was looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came with fear and trembling, fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth. “Daughter,” He said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be free  from your affliction.”

(Mark 5:25-34 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)


God’s Refinement

Come and see the works of God; His acts toward mankind are awe-inspiring. He turned the sea into dry land, and they crossed the river on foot. There we rejoiced in Him. He rules forever by His might; He keeps His eye on the nations. The rebellious should not exalt themselves. Selah

Praise our God, you peoples; let the sound of His praise be heard. He keeps us alive and does not allow our feet to slip.
For You, God, tested us; You refined us as silver is refined. You lured us into a trap; You placed burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but You brought us out to abundance.

I will enter Your house with burnt offerings; I will pay You my vows that my lips promised and my mouth spoke during my distress. I will offer You fattened sheep as burnt offerings, with the fragrant smoke of rams; I will sacrifice oxen with goats. Selah

(Psalm 66:5-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)


What is Manna?

When Israel was wandering through the desert, Yahweh fed them flaky stuff that they called “manna.” Manna isn’t really a name for it, though. They never figured out what it was, and “manna” is a question that testified to that lack of information. It means “what?”

Do you really believe that Yahweh whipped up enough of this dew each day to dry into flakes that tasted like honey wafers to feed millions of people wherever they happened to be in the desert for 40 years? Do you believe that the day they entered the land that had belonged to their ancestor Abraham they never saw manna again?

If you do, then you should have no problem believing that the same God of Love and Power will fix your car or your health or your relationships or your job. Stand on one as you look to Him for the other.

Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.
(1 Corinthians 10:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Eyes Wide Open

Elisha was the son of a farmer until Elijah invited him to follow him in the work of being a prophet (1 Kings 19:15-21). Elisha became his servant then. When Elijah was taken to heaven, Gehazi became Elisha’s servant. He was not called to prophesy. He seems to have simply been an employee, based on some of his actions when financial benefits were available (2 Kings 5:20-27).

When Elisha’s prophetic work stirred up the king of Aram by consistently revealing to the king of Israel what his plans were in the war they were fighting, the Aramean king discovered that Elisha was living in Dothan, and sent his army there by night to capture him (2 Kings 6:8-14.)

Gehazi went out the next morning, he saw the Aramean soldiers surrounding Dothan. He went to Elisha, thinking that he was informing him of the invasion. Elijah’s response was “Don’t be afraid – there are more with us than with them.” He then prayed that the Lord would open Gehazi’s eyes. Gehazi could then see warriors of fire surrounding the Arameans (2 Kings 6:15-23.)

If anyone would be potentially disqualified to receive revelation from the Spirit of God, Gehazi might be one. Still, a request that he could see in the spirit was answered. You are qualified to receive revelation. You are a family member to Yahweh. Born of Him, therefore able to see the Kingdom (John 3:3.)

Ask that you might see with spiritual eyes wide open. Expect it.

A Gossipless Life

I have talked with many people who think that gossiping is lying about people. That activity is better described as lying, though. Gossip’s meaning  may be understood through a couple of several proverbs that mention it.

A gossip goes around revealing a secret,
but the trustworthy keeps a confidence.
(Proverbs 11:13 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

A contrary man spreads conflict,
and a gossip separates friends.
(Proverbs 16:28 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

The one who reveals secrets is a constant gossip;
avoid someone with a big mouth.
(Proverbs 20:19 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

The power that is required to be able to control my tongue is great. When I refuse to speak secrets just because I know them, covering someone’s weakness or failure, I will be blessed. Never forget that Canaan was thrown out of the land by Israel as a fulfillment of Noah’s curse of Ham for uncovering his nakedness. (Genesis 9:20-27)

Created Again

Being “born again” has been talked about quite a bit in the last few decades. Being “created again” – maybe that’s worth talking about a bit…

Rest is built into the design Yahweh revealed to Israel when He gave them laws to make them a nation. Over 14% of their lives should be spent resting, according to Him: one day every week, and extra days beyond that at times.

Some religious people have wanted to control what everybody else did during their rest time through the years. No fishing, no football, no golf, for example. Even the public departments of parks and recreation have better ideas than that, I think. They call what you do in their environments, “re-creation.” In the 14th century, the term was originally used to describe bringing sick people back to health.

REcreation can include lots of very different activities, I think; from taking a nap to camping to competing in games. Resting from responsibility and labor is good for us at many levels. Yahweh knew.