Category Archives: Discipleship

Dark Friday (Black Friday)

Friday is dark enough just having been named after a demon. English pagan goddess “Frige” is the source of “Fri-day” and the matching Roman demon is Venus, hence “viernes” is the Spanish name for the same day. Having all the fake deals hype on black friday to launch the sales frenzy as people started to check names off their gift lists made yesterday a bit darker for me.

The Roman church needed a big holy day to associate with the importance level of winter solstice and chose a mass dedicated to the birth of Messiah. Christ mass. 12 days of the solstice/Christ mass feast and then they added “Epiphany.” “Light,” as in – Light has shone on the Gentiles by reaching the magi. Debatably, Jesus was not born at this time of the year, but at least they got Epiphany correct as a contrast, by celebrating the two events separately.
January 6 is Epiphany – the day the Roman church made a mass to celebrate the eventual arrival of the magi. The Scripture text describing their arrival made it clear that they found Jesus, Mary & Joseph living in a house by the time they came. Herod made his decision about what age male children to massacre based on the timing that the magi had first seen his star. Maybe as much as 2 years since Jesus’ birth, Herod thought.

So – while being annoyed by the mamonism yesterday, the thought came to me that we should celebrate at Ephiphany mass instead of Christ mass. Everything will be marked down to the regular price the day after the Christ mass (even better than yesterday!), so we could either save money or give twice as much stuff away for the same price.

People will ask what we are doing, and we can use the opportunity to point out to them that we took the magi out of the manger scene for accuracy, and wanted to celebrate with the wizards this year instead of the shepherds.

Lance Wallnau just told me that I am part of “the Resistance,” and it got me in a mood! Ha.

New Normal

Rational thinking is what we are told we should base all of our decisions on. Everything should line up with evidence and rational predictability. An example could be that the sun is likely to shine tomorrow, but only until evening, then it will get dark.

If you see something that fits into miraculous better than it fits rational, I suggest that you should change – your new rational should be based on that new revelation of what God is willing to do.

One day in my office I was replacing a light switch in a rest room. The only light in the room was the one I had removed the power from so that I could replace the switch safely. There was a window across the room from the rest room door, but not much light was coming that far through it.

I prayed, “Help me, Lord!” Immediately, a car parked in the rear of the building, directly out from the window that was across the room. The sun, shining on the car’s windshield, was reflected in through the window. It was aiming directly through the rest room door onto the rest room mirror. It reflected from the mirror directly at the light switch box, which was on the wall by the door.

I almost instantly had light from the sun (pretty bright!) shining exactly where I needed to have light.

It is hard for me to think of a good reason not to upgrade my “normal” to this now proven higher level. I should expect super natural, super rational, super ingenious answers every time I ask someOne as wondersfully inGenious as Yahweh for help!

Evidence supports the rationale upgrade!

Easy Work

If I put $50k in a checking account in your name and gave you the checkbook, you could give anyone money until it ran out. It would not be hard to do – just decide to give someone some money, write the check, and hand it to them. Or mail it.

It is just as easy to forgive someone. No matter what they did to you or failed to do for you. No Matter!

It isn’t easy to forgive because it doesn’t hurt, or doesn’t feel like injustice, or any of our other excuses for pretending its hard. It is easy because all you have to do yourself is make the decision. The rest of the process is drawn on the Blood of Jesus that was tortured out of His body the day He was sacrificed.

All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
(Ephesians 4:31-32 /Holman Christian Standard Bible®  ©  2005 by Holman Bible Publishers.)

Forgive one another just as God forgave you – in Christ. There is no other source of the power to forgive but the cross of Jesus.

Release the power! Be insanely generous!

Odds & Oddities

People argue about how many adults were in the crowd Moses led out of Egypt. I hear ranges from 1 to 6 million.

Trim all the fat out of the picture you like, and pretend we know there were 1,102,303. Based on that pretense, let’s create some minimal odds. Joshua and Caleb we don’t have to guess at. 2 people out of however many (1,102,303 pretentiously, today only) is a pretty small percentage.

If the perspective is typical (as in type / antitype), the odds of you being successful at a calling that is not maintenance of some tradition are not good. Half a million to one, you won’t be and do what Yahweh has called you to if it’s new or if it disrupts the status quo.

No problem with those odds when you are an oddity, though! Be encouraged! Your awesome God picked you because you are going to be and do what He likes. You are not going to quit, surrender, faint, fail, or die without accomplishing what He put you in the earth for.

He likes doing things that way. He likes embarrassing His enemies and nay-sayers by picking the likes of us to take out or out last the likes of them.

Go be awesome.

Clouds

Heat is measurable. There are even multiple gauges to measure it with. It is energy. Cold is only measurable in terms of the absence of heat.

Light is measurable. Darkness isn’t, really. Once you get down to the point of NO light, darkness doesn’t get darker. Light is measurable above and below the ranges at which our eyes can’t perceive it, but there is a point at which there is zero of it of any frequency that is simply, completely dark. No further darkness past that.

Faith and doubt are a different sort of opposites. We were designed to all have faith (Romans 12:3). Some have been given more faith than others, even to the point of there being a spiritual gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9). Because it is also a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23), the amount available in us at different points in time varies, based on how submitted we are to Him when we respond to problems or opportunities.

We always have faith at work in us, because we were designed for it to always be active, even in small measure. Small seems to be much, though – Jesus told Peter that he didn’t have much faith after he had just walked on water!

Faith and doubt seem to be opposite of each other like cold and hot, because even though faith is always working, it is only aimed at a certain target. Faith in one thing amounts to doubt in another. Even if I have a disease that I have completely surrendered to, seeming to have no faith at all, my faith has targeted the power of the disease to take my life. I therefore have doubt in all of the possibilities of types of healings.

Faith is able to see past the clouds on a dark day and believe that the sun is still shining on top of them. It is able to take a prophetic word that says I have been called to Palestine from Egypt and see past the desert trip to not just the validity of, but the real-ization of the promises. It allows me the ability to hold in my heart the things that I am hoping for, so that, in time, I will hold them in my hands.

Doubt the likelihood of your failure. Doubt the abilities and strategies of your enemies. Doubt the power of rejection and loneliness and insufficient information and others’ jealousies and of fear and any other contrary thing you could make a list of here.

It is hard on days to tell the difference between pretending something is true and standing in faith. That is true whether what you are pretending is true really is true or not. It is true whether what you are pretending is true is good for you or bad against you.

So don’t worry about it. Prefer living with hope for the things God has promised you to living in fear or other misery of believing that they can’t happen. Lean over into what feels like pretending. Let your imagination create a space where faith can create a space where Abundant Life can fill the space.

Be filled with faith in the Lord your God, and His everlasting love for you.

Repent!! part 2

Paul wrote to the believers in Rome (12:1,2) that their transformation should come through having their minds changed. That is a picture of repentance – “metanoeo” – changed knowledge.

Every time you respond to opportunities to do things an old, unconverted-to-Jesus way, if you do it the new, “like Jesus” way, you have proven you have repented. We change our behavior slowly sometimes because we have so many different responses in different situations. If Mom is watching, we have one set of values. If a policeman is watching, we have one set of values. If a friend we like to do stupid things with is watching, we may do things differently. If no one is watching, we use another set of guidelines.

Until you have changed all those values, and always respond the same way, your behavior is lagging behind your mind with regard to change. Until you change all of your mind, you will not change all of your behavior.

When you are converted at the level of your values, your behavior will change to a new normal. At some point in your past, if I had offered you a choice between a $50 bill and your favorite flavor of ice cream, you would have chosen the sweet treat with no questions. Then one day you learned that the money was more valuable.

Set your mind on things that have value in heaven.

Repent!! part 1

Some words in the Bible speak of 3-part ideas. Baptize means to use a medium (fire, water, the Holy Spirit) as a means through which to take someone or something out of something into something else. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10 that Israel was baptized into Moses, for example. From here to there, through that.

Sanctify means “set apart.” “Set apart to Yahweh” means something good. “Set apart as a temple prostitute” means something bad. Being set apart is being made holy to that. You were this, now you have been set apart to that.

Repent is a word that means you thought one way, then something happened, and now you think a different way. It comes from two Greek words that together mean changed knowledge (meta-noeo). Oddly, it doesn’t mean changed behavior. That error is classically presented as truth by all the major evangelical publishing houses, though. 180 degree change in your behavior.

John told some people (Luke 3:8) that they needed to bear fruit that proved they had repented. Clearly, that means that he did not equate repentance with changed behavior, but demanded that it was a change of mind that should produce changed behavior.

Don’t Miss Being With Jesus

Song of Solomon 5:2-8
Sometimes Jesus visits us when it is inconvenient.
Focusing on ourselves instead of our Lord will cause us to miss the day of His visitation.

Revelation 3:20

Jesus was speaking to the Church (3:14,22) not unbelievers.
John saw a door opened in Heaven; the closed door is on our end of the ladder.

Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus congratulated the sheep and condemned the goats regarding how they received and served Him.
The sheep and the goats both had the same response to His judgements:
“When did we see You?”

1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Paul chastised the Corinthian congregation for eating their own meal instead of the Lord’s. He warned them that if they continued to eat the meal in an unworthy manner (without discerning the Lord’s Body) that they would continue to get sick and die from it.

Paul is the man to whom Jesus said regarding his persecution of the Church,  “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Paul understands that the Lord considers the Church to be Himself in some mystery. As Saul attacked the Church, he was attacking Jesus. As the Corinthians rejected and cursed each other, they were rejecting and cursing Jesus. What killed them was eating His body after cursing it.

He wants us to discern Him in each other when we gather, whether it is at Taco Bell, K-mart, or some meeting of the Church.

Stop and think about the Believers you know that you feel would be least likely to have any ministry to offer you. If Jesus, Who is being formed in each Believer as allowed, were to try to reveal Himself to you through them, could He? Could you discern Him?

Dehydrated

Most of your body is water.

If you get dehydrated, your brain doesn’t work at full force. Each cell struggles to draw nutrition in and wash spent nutrients out. Your eyes get dry. Your throat gets dry. Your head hurts.

If you are working or playing hard, and don’t have enough water in your blood to turn into sweat, you can overheat. When you do sweat while dehydrated, you get more dehydrated.

If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Sometimes you are so dehydrated that your stomach is asking for water, not just your mouth and throat. It feels like hunger.

The time to do something about dehydration is before it happens. Drinking water before you are thirsty is called hydration. Just like breathing deeply before you run up stairs so that you are not out of breath when you get to the top.

Your spirit needs breath from Yahweh’s Spirit. You need it ahead of time all the time. You need to have a mind set on peace before you need peace. You need to have a mind filled with how awesome your God is before you hear how bad your circumstances just became.

You need to drink from the fountain of Living Water before you get thirsty. Read something or listen to something or someone that speaks of faith or agape or joy before you need those to be in your spirit for a quick response to a bad situation.

On purpose, ahead of time, make habits of pouring truth about Who your God is, and about who He says you are into your mind. Take responsibility for making Spiritual hydration available to yourself.

Drink often. Drink deeply.

Offer a drink of Life to your neighbor at every opportunity.

Being Negative

Here are some things you can’t do:

Fool Yahweh.

Love someone too much.

Forgive someone too many times.

Waste anything by giving too much of it to Jesus.

Grasp how much Jesus loves you.

Memorize too much Scripture.

Agree with a demon without losing something for having done it.

Get sick in Heaven.

Hide from Yahweh.

Prosper by cheating.

Fail to improve something by cheering up.

Imagine yet how valuable unity with other Believers is.