Thursday, July 30, 2009

"unfair" opposition to Christians in the USA . . .

Of course, if we are to believe Jesus warnings and "promises", none of us should be surprised at any of this! We are to live out our lives as living sacrifices, speaking Truth and Justice, but always as His ambassadors of Peace . . . even when we are persecuted. Yes, we should speak out, but always reflecting the One in Whose Name we do so . . . even in prayer. As one prone to a critical spirit much too often, I caution us all to keep always focused on Jesus Christ; His character and the Grace, Love and Power He imparts to us through the Spirit. Remember Christ's week of Passion, remember His demeanor before Pilate and others, even on the Cross . . . . "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." If we don't reflect the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ, then we do Him and our Faith great damage, and please the evil dweeb in the process. So, remember to be His "Light" as well as "salt".

only by Grace, pat

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Abdication of a sort . . .

I am appalled at how many men these days are abdicating their responsibility, privilege and blessing of being husbands and fathers, instead abandoning their wives and families for selfish, foolish pursuits! Jerks, cowards and harsher words describe guys I have called "friends" . . . so sad. Come on guys turn your lives around before you live (and die) in regret. Still praying for you, and willing to talk.

Living in victory and confidence without fear

He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Matthew 28:18
26”But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:26-27
17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church; 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:17-23
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, Philippians 2:9-10
"Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 1 Peter 3:14b
Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Peter 3:22
Satan, the evil dweeb, is truly a defeated foe! Christ has won the Victory over evil and death; He has redeemed us into His Father’s Kingdom forever. Therefore, we can take confidence in all of the above Truths from God’s Word, storing them up in our hearts and minds, and calling them forth in both meditation and proclamation. Claim these Truths and the many others given us in His Word, the “sword of the Spirit”. Put on the full armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), recognizing the Grace and Power in each “piece” . . . focusing on God and His Christ, while putting the dweeb in his place of lowly stature (a troublemaker in this broken world, but without power to possess or control those who are in Christ Jesus.) Practice spiritual disciplines!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don't give the dweeb more credit than he deserves

“ . . . do not let the devil get a foothold.” Ephesians 4:27
Sound Christian doctrine throughout the ages since Christ’s victory states that the devil cannot personally tempt us. Temptation lies in our “flesh” and the sinful nature thereof. What can happen though is that our flesh tempts us and then the dweeb uses our stumble to his advantage. It is a difficult concept to grasp, but whenever we give him too much “credit” for our struggles we play into his evil plans. Our way out is always through Christ and our Father’s Word, through spiritual disciplines . . . we’ve already been “delivered” out of the dweeb’s clutches . . . he cannot “possess” us nor “enter” into us . . . we quite simply play into his hands via our own sin, whether simple doubt or greater actions on our own part.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We have this knowledge in jars of clay . . .

Moose Musings Summer 2009

“Simplicity” – that has been my wife, Patti’s, word for the past couple years. I agree, and have been trying to live that word out in my life, especially since I “retired” from civil service about a year and a half ago. However, it doesn’t mean “laziness” or boredom or any such thing! I have been very busy, but not burdened . . . blessed but not battered, over the past year plus. The varied ministry opportunities, time to read and study and write, and more, have been wonderful. And, being a house husband is way better than I thought it would be, even if being my wife’s secretary/office manager has its challenges. 
So, while the book (The Narrow Road – A Journey of Hope) is still a vision, the writing continues inspired by the One Who is Father, Son & Holy Spirit. It may all be collected into one publication at some point, but at least it’s all “out there”. Much has been on the Moose’s mind lately, so I thought I would share some thoughts, and hope they will encourage, challenge or whatever God speaks to your own hearts in these offerings.
I was reminded recently how our home has become a Peace-filled sanctuary, so much so that visitors often comment on how they feel very “comfortable” in our home. I trust that is God’s Presence, and I also think “simplicity” has a lot to do with it? One never need be intimidated or worried about looking “all right”, scuffing things up, etc. in our home. This old “place of Peace” is filled with “hand me down” furniture, second hand appliances, etc. Lots of “old”, nothing “new”, lots more “borrowed” and a little “blue” ‘cause that’s my favorite color.
Surrendering to God . . . all of it . . . all we are, and have, and hope to be, to the One Who loves us beyond imagination, has made all the blessed difference in our lives.
There is a Relationship at the center of the Universe. That Relationship created us out of Grace and Love. We find our true meaning and purpose in relationship with that Creator and with one another. The One called Jesus came to reveal that “Relationship” and invite us into it.
Where is God when we hurt, when our loved ones hurt, when we experience loss, when we struggle beyond our limits? He IS in all of it, He walks through it with us, He is our source of strength, comfort and ultimate Peace. We will still struggle, feel pain and despair, but He is our rock and refuge . . . ever unchanging, ever loving, ever enduring on our behalf.
On demons and spiritual warfare much has been written. Can we be possessed by evil, or just influenced? We have the promises of Scripture to sustain us, the truth that we are Christ’s forever . . . Ephesians 6, James 4, 1 Peter and more . . . and if that were not enough, Jesus said, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ” I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." The dweeb cannot “possess” us, no way, no how! But often all the dweeb and his minions need to do is place doubts, fears or temptations in our lives . . . then, we simply cooperate with him. But, we always have a way out through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit . . . through prayer and God’s Word. Never forget . . . the dweeb is a defeated foe . . . we live in Victory won by the sacrifice and saving Grace of Jesus Christ!
I have been encouraged more than once to pursue the pastorship . . . to attend seminary, and the thought has crossed my mind, but God has never “called” me to either Christian academia or institutionalized ministry. His “word” to me has always been “I have you where I want you, and that is enough.” I have considered the prestigious and hallowed halls of academia versus my own home, the honored titles (“Dr.” etc.) versus simple humility and faith in the world, a life like Thomas Torrance versus Brother Lawrence. For me the choice has been to sit at the feet of Jesus, taught by the Father’s Word through the Holy Spirit who reveals the Truth. I have chosen in Him to be “in the world, but not of it” by His Grace alone. I confess I love “parachurch ministry” . . . that “work”/”service” that occurs outside of denominational lines and structure, that brings together Christ followers who seek only to obey Jesus. I love this “seminary” of life . . . I study on my own time with the best “doktorvater” anyone could ask for . . . God Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. [I am reminded of a story told by a renowned Christian theologian concerning an encounter with a brilliant scholar, when asked of the “scholar” where he studied the answer was simple and straightforward, “On my knees on the dirt floor of my home with an open Bible in front of me.”] Certainly, others will be “called” to the “deeper” adventures of academia, but for most of us the seminary of life will be enough.
In closing, I give thanks to God for my wife who is my soulmate and inspiration. For my children who provide both a measure of humble pride (if there is such a thing) and happiness as I watch them grow up. For His revelation to me personally, that sustains and guides me. I too am grateful for the many “little” ministries that have come along since my “retirement”; driving my blessed “customers” around town for United Cerebral Palsy/Paratransit (my own little L’Arche community after Henri Nouwen,) the mental health ministry that continues even if regular meetings aren’t currently happening, the ever present mentoring to youth and young adults, marriage mentoring (two couples right now,) Young Life Urban Sacramento and the blessing of supporting and encouraging Kevin and Sarah Eastway, Tommy, Leanna and Angelina my “Foster grandkids” and being part of their whole adventure, a prayer ministry that is often overwhelming but always carries God’s blessings, and all of the daily opportunities to be the Love and Light of Jesus wherever God has me throughout every one of those days. I understand now Jesus promise to give us life, and give it abundantly. My life is truly “simple”, but oh so full!
I am truly a blemished jar of clay, cracked and inadequate but daily being renewed in Christ for greater works of service, in love and Grace.
Thanks be to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit . . . blessed Relationship at the center of the universe. May you make me more like you with each passing day, until you make me perfect in you, when you come to make all things new.
And may you all come to know this God who is LOVE.
Only by Grace,