Runnin’ Naked…and Lovin’ It!


Running Silhouette“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” ~Hebrews 4.12-13

So here’s the question: Knowing the Bible “exposes” our innermost thoughts and desires, do we feel comforted…or condemned? Do we think of the revealing Word of God as a good and beneficial thing, or as a frightening thing?

It seems to me that the answer depends on our level of trust in the goodness of God. The more we trust him, the more safe we feel in our “nakedness” before him. Otherwise, we feel violated by God’s “intrusion” into our secret thoughts and desires.

I’m beginning to welcome the search light of God in my life. Knowing that he is for me and not against me makes all the difference. Although in the past I typically imagined God exposing the “bad” things lurking deep within my soul, it has occurred to me there are a few good things within me that God is exposing. For instance, one of the things he is exposing is my deep and enduring desire to be the man he designed me to be, and to be a husband and father and grandpa that will honor him.

He is exposing my willingness to learn to trust him more fully.  He is revealing my confidence that he is the One who will complete the work he has begun within me. Today, my greatest challenge is to live in humble submission to the things he reveals to me…as I live in his Word.

Sometimes when we’re reading the Bible, we simply quit reading too soon. Immediately after we read about God using his Word as a sword to slice and dice our innermost thoughts and desires, we read this:

“This High Priest of ours (Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” ~ Hebrews 4.15-16

May we invite—and welcome—God’s loving revelation that brings healing into our lives and relationships, and peace that boggles our minds.

‘SINtense!


Verb TenseKnowledge of the tense of a verb can sometimes be critical for accurate interpretation of the Bible. For example, consider the following verse:

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because his (God’s) seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” ~ 1 John 3:9

Look at the verb sin. At first glance, the verse seems to imply that one who is “born of God” can never commit a sin, and yet Scripture teaches us this is not a reality:

1 John 1:8 – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
2 Chronicles 6:36a – “…for there is no one who does not sin…”
Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”
James 3:2 – “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.”

When we understand that the verb sin is in the present tense, it becomes clear that John is saying that one who is born of God cannot habitually commit sins as their general pattern of life. The verb “practices” is also present tense and conveys the same thought. All believers commit sins, but not habitually or as their lifestyle. (Note the importance of a Biblical definition of sin, which not only includes intentional disobedience, but also “missing the mark,” and the “sins of omission” – knowing the right thing to do but neglecting/refusing to do it. The “sin” highlighted in 1 John 3.9 is the sin of “omission or commission, in thought and feeling or in speech and action.”)

Application: If our lifestyle is a lifestyle of continual sinning with no desire for holiness: Hebrews 12:14 – “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” we must examine whether we are genuinely new creatures in Christ: 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” and born from above: John 3:3 – “Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again’” and 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

Armed with this knowledge, we can understand that a proper understanding of 1 John 3:9 requires a proper understanding of the verb tense.

May the Author enlighten our minds to receive the truth of his Word, and may we walk in the Light and by the power of the Holy Spirit!

(adapted from preceptaustin.org)

A Call for Your Heart ~ (Part 2)


imagesCAV88UL8The voice we once heard…His voice…is now a distant cry. And yet it’s there…that voice calling out…longing for our return! “Come out…come out and resist.”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7

So how in the world do we begin to resist when everything around us tells us to ignore the call? Our flesh is weak; the cravings for instant gratification are strong.
The Word of God is clear. It is a bold statement, a present imperative – a calling for decisive, effective, definite obedience. An imperative leaves no room for options. It’s a God-given command.

If you have breath in your body, and have the ability to read what I’ve written, then please pay attention for a moment!

Jesus endured an unimaginable death! With a cat of nine tails embedded with chards of glass and metal, the Roman soldiers ripped the flesh from His body with 40 lashes, until His body was spent and disfigured. In mockery, a crown of thorns was driven into the flesh on His head. He then picked up His cross and drug and carried it through the streets of Jerusalem, up the hill to the place called Golgotha. There His body was thrown on the cross, and nine inch nails were driven through His feet and hands…he was lifted up…His disfigured and bloody body put on display. The crowds cheered and mocked Him as His mother and disciples anguished for the Son of God….Mary’s precious son, the disciples’ Master and friend…God’s gift to mankind.

There on Calvary’s cross our Savior in this final hour looked up to the heavens and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Mercy and grace on display for all the world to see! He didn’t have to endure this death! He could have wiped mankind from the face of this planet and rescued Himself (and the few who believed). Instead He endured the Cross so that you and I could experience His redemptive power of mercy and grace! Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price! He CHOSE to pay the price for US!

I love the Message version of Romans 5:6-11: “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!”

Jesus’ words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”…they resonate so loudly! Do you hear His voice? Do you hear Him calling your name? He died for you; He longs to have relationship with you! He chose you…He chose me!

He tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other”.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” ~ Hebrews 10:19-24

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint!” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” ~ Hebrews 10:35-36

“Papa God, I pray for those that hear Your voice today. Ignite a fiery passion in our hearts! Place Your favor in our lives as You have promised. Give us courage and strength to surrender our baggage and carry on in our journey with You! Purify our thoughts, purify our hearts and help us day by day to persevere and grow stronger in our relationship with You! Help us understand that our source of power is in Your Holy Word! Help us to treasure it and take it in every single day! In JESUS’ name I ask these things, amen.”

His voice…His calling. Your heart…His heart…choose to obey and persevere! ~ In His Strong Love ~ rose

Satan Goofed


joseph coat of colorsSatan made a mistake. If he had been thinking more clearly, he would have enlisted Judas to protect Jesus so the prospective Savior could live to be a ripe old age. If Satan could have somehow averted the crucifixion, and the subsequent resurrection, there would be no redemption. But the Enemy used Judas to fulfill prophecy, playing into God’s plan to rescue us from the wages of our sinful disobedience. Satan’s diabolical plan to kill Jesus was a necessary part of the plan of salvation—our salvation.*

Satan makes the same mistake every time he tries to trip us up along our journey. Every time he throws something into our path to destroy us – to take us out of the game – he is unwittingly playing into God’s plan. Our trust in God does not increase during the comfortable times in our life. (We do have comfortable times, don’t we) Out trust in God’s sovereignty grows only during the times when we are compelled to cling to him for dear life.

There’s a story in the book of Genesis about a plan to take a guy out, but the plan backfired. Joseph was a bright-eyed youngster who experienced harsh complications in his life as a result of the jealous schemes of his older brothers. (I think there is a special place in heaven for younger brothers who have had to endure the evil plots of elder brothers.) Young Joey was a menace to his brothers, so they sold him to slave traders.

Those who are familiar with the story know that God eventually used Joe to save the lives of the brothers who had tried to kill him. In fact, God used Joe to save an entire nation. Here’s the thing: Joe would not have been in a position to rescue a nation if his brothers had not done what they did.

The more we learn to trust our heavenly Father, the more alert we become in the midst of “bad things.” We become more alert because we have learned that an out-of-the-ordinary thing in our life might very well be the event God will use to accomplish something really good. Sounds strange, but some of us actually get a little excited—in a trembling kind of way—when we realize God is entrusting something to us that is beyond our capacity to handle…on our own. We know he’s about to do something that will ultimately bring him glory. And we are invited to play a part in the plan.

The Enemy wants to entangle us in doubt and fear. Since the beginning, he has always been trying to thwart the plan of God. But every attempt he makes to destroy us is another opportunity in God’s hands to accomplish his plan in our life. Every time.

Possibly something comes to your mind that illustrates this powerful truth in your own life. Perhaps there was a time in your life when you felt as though you were “going under.” But you didn’t go under. Instead, God used the difficult time to accomplish something good. Maybe you will have an opportunity to share your story with someone who needs to be reminded of God’s faithfulness this week. We serve an all-powerful God who always has—and always will—use everything the Enemy throws our way to accomplish his ultimate purpose.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~Genesis 50.20

*The idea that Satan, or anyone for that matter, could have derailed even the slightest detail of the execution of God’s eternal plan of salvation is preposterous. Yea God!

“Filling the Gap”…with God?


There is a longing—or angst—in the heart of every believer that desires a deeper, more intimate walk with God. And to experience this relationship with God, we must learn to “be still.” Learning the art of being still is indeed a daily discipline; a concentrated effort on our part to wait patiently for Him to speak.

For the most part, we rush into our day with so much on our minds–things to do, people to see, places to go, errands to run. Our lives are made up of deadlines, one right after another…or so we believe.

When we’re honest, we admit we often create “a gap of time” in our daily routine for God…the Creator of all that exists….including time itself! We proudly make a check-mark in the box when we’ve spent the 15-30 minutes or so we think we can spare for God. Wow…how arrogantly we’ve twisted our concept of time with Him!

And so we spend time running through our list of requests…for our kids, for our friends… telling God what we need, what we want…talking, talking, talking! Then we close with, “in Jesus name, Amen.” Bam…done! Devotional time is over! Put the check mark in the box. We said what we came to say, and we get up and walk away…on to the next “thing” on our list. Now do we feel better? Ouch!

So what’s wrong with this picture? Let me be clear…there is nothing wrong with sharing the desires of our heart with our Papa God. He loves it when we pour our heart out to Him. What’s wrong is that more often than not we leave our heavenly Father’s presence before we’ve given Him an opportunity to respond. We close His Holy Word as soon as we’ve completed the “prescribed verses,” according to our reading plan.  Our thoughts wander on ahead…on to the next task. And when we get up and walk away too soon, we miss the opportunity to hear what our Lord and Savior—our  Almighty Father—wants to speak into our hearts.

In order to discern the voice of God we must practice the art of being still. Papa God longs to breathe Himself into our souls. He longs to reawaken our spiritual senses. He is more than able to prepare us for our daily assignments…more than able to gift us with the desires of our hearts…gifts that are in accordance with His will.

But He doesn’t want to stop there. God wants to do LIFE with us! He wants to be present in our everyday walk…to lift us up when we stumble and fall…to be there for the “high-fives” of our successes (yes…Papa God loves to high-five me:). He wants to walk with us…all the way through our day…gifting us with an inner peace as we close our weary eyes at the end of another day.

So the next time you think you must just “get through” your quiet time, remember this: Pause…and hear His voice! Be still and listen to what He has to say. Then get on with your day…you and God. Invite Him along…and let Him be your driver! You’ll be glad you did! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

“Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand….pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given – and you will receive even more.” Mark 4:23-24

Bursting into cheers!


Just want to take a minute to thank everyone for taking the time to stop by to visit our blog. We reached a milestone this week–over 2,000 views. Yea God!

Those of you who know Rose and I personally know how blessed we are to have this opportunity to “write on paper” the thoughts our Lord brings to our minds. Someone asked recently why we write, and my immediate thought was that we’d burst if we didn’t. God designed us—all of us—to express our thoughts and feelings about what he is doing in our lives.

I love the story in Luke 19 about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding a donkey. Here’s what happened:

“As he (Jesus) rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!’

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, ‘Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!’

(This is the part I love!) Jesus replied, ‘If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!’”

Don’t you love this imagery! Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and he gives us LIFE! How can we not tell the people around us about the joy with us! Are you bursting at the seams with your gratitude for God’s mighty love in your life?

So, thank you for stopping by our blog to see what God has put in our hearts. And thank you for taking the time to share your own thoughts and feelings about what we write.

Bursting into cheers!

Rod & Rose

A “Bucket of Bolts”…


We had our annual Father’s Day auto show at Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque last weekend. Nobody really seemed to mind the desert sun that threatened to melt the tires into the asphalt. I watched hundreds of people meander up and down the aisles of driving machines, pausing  for a moment every now and then to get a closer look, munching on hotdogs and sipping soda.

I discovered that every car has a story. The old guys like me went back in time when they recalled their very first car. Some of the guys confessed stories about things that happened in their cars that could have landed them in jail if they’d gotten caught. The stories I enjoyed the most were the “restoration stories.”  I know this is hard to believe unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes, but some guys actually have picture albums of the whole process, much like a mom might have of her babies growing up over the years.

And it seems the more “trashed” the car was at the beginning of the process, the better. Variations of stories like, “Yep, she was nothing but a bucket of bolts when I got my hands on her,” and, “She’d been sittin’ in the barn for 40 years when I first laid eyes on her,” sometimes sprang up when I stopped to admire a particular car. (I’m not really sure why guys refer to cars with the feminine gender, but I think it might have something to do with a guy’s need to rescue his beauty…or something like that.)

As you might imagine, the whole scene made me think of God’s restoration process in my own life. I took my life off track—onto the demolition track of life—and made quite a mess of things. There were times when I felt as though I was irreparable—beyond hope. I know it sounds a little dramatic, but I felt as though I was good for nothing except the junk pile of broken down guys who were twisted and misshapen beyond repair.

But the Original Builder—the One who assembled me in my mother’s womb in the first place—went to work on me. As the guys at the car show would say, God began a frame-off restoration, right down to the foundation of my being. Every nut and bolt was inspected and replaced if necessary. The sheet metal that was banged up or rusted out was made new. And the engine was rebuilt with the finest components possible. Then God set me back on track as a witness to his amazing grace.

Now he has me on a rigorous maintenance program of daily washing with the Word, and refueling by the power of his Spirit at work within me. When I get banged up a little, he immediately goes to work fixing the damage, and restoring the shine to my spirit. And some day when I meet face to face with Jesus—the One who made the restoration possible—a part of me suspects he might have a picture album of my life. The album will remind me how his love transformed a wreck of a man into a guy with some shine that reflects just a hint of the splendor of his Designer.

Are You Shipwrecked Yet?


Matthew 8:24-26 “Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm”

Trepidation of the unknown can be paralyzing. We convince ourselves that the safe place is to remain  in the boat. We’ve become accustomed to the familiar. It is hard to imagine anything else. We gaze out from time to time at the uncharted waters…so vast and seemingly untamable. We see a storm brewing…and the angst begins to swell within us. Suddenly–sometimes without warning–the storm rises! We are jolted out of our slumber and our first reaction is fueled by fear.

But rather than seeking our Master’s orders, we take matters into our own hands. In desperation we pick up the paddles and begin to row in our own strength, attempting to find a safe harbor. From time to time we dare gaze out but quickly retreat…trembling and fearing the raging swale of the storm. We become overwhelmed and lose our focus we go off course…that path that once seemed so certain.  Finally after what seems like an eternity, our attempts to reckon with the storm prove futile. We finally lay down our paddles and look up and see our Master’s face. His resolute calm provides an undeniable comfort. We realize at that moment that He has been calling out to us all along…longing to reset our course and do life with us once again!

Ours is not to question the calling, it is simply to keep our eyes focused on the ONE who has the power to calm the raging seas…the ONE who determines our course. If we trust HIS hand…He will gently guide us out of our boats…that once safe place we settled into and stayed too long.

Are you ready to make a change? Then TRUST HIM….He will lead you into a splendorous adventure that will bring about unspeakable joy. He’s ready to breathe LIFE back into you! After all, He is our Creator–the Alpha the Omega–the beginning and the end! Let Him bring about the necessary changes to our weary souls, let him be the master of our ship! Let us finish well…having served His eternal purpose!  Are you ready to lay down your paddles and heed HIS call?  He awaits you! ~  IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: