Who is this Man Jesus?


get-attachmentTHE WORD: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” ~John 14:6-7

During this past Spring Semester at CCU, I took a Worldview class that awakened my mind to a stunning reality. I’ve always known there are many religions, philosophies, and ideologies in the world. However, what was most revealing to me in this class was the realization that even within the Church, a worldview called “pluralism” exists.

For many Christians, the Biblical worldview is too strict (and restrictive), too absolute, and too exclusive. They would rather live life believing that God is good, kind and fair, along with a brush stroke of faith that everyone is on their own path that will eventually lead to heaven. It is a form of “coexistence” that is a mockery of what the Bible teaches.

In the book Seeking and Finding God, by Dave Hunt, the author writes, “A conviction that there is a definite way to heaven (and only one) is not tolerated in this day of professed tolerance, because it insists that all roads don’t lead to the same place, that truth does exist, and that there is a distinction between what is right and what is wrong. Instead of such antiquated convictions, ecumenical broad-mindedness is the new wave for the new millennium. We are expected to set aside the rational necessity of being certain about our eternal destiny in favor of a mindless tolerance that promises only to avoid religious arguments in this life but offers no sensible assurance of the next.” (Hunt, 2007, p. 56-57)

So how do I live a life of congruency with God’s Word in a world where so many ideologies seem to be diluting the truth? The authors of Making Sense of Your World write, “The goal of every person is to discover truth about God, not to be found in error or be self-deceived. The question of truth however is not how we might want things to be, but how things actually are. Truth and sincere faith are an ideal combination.” (Phillips, Brown, & Stonestreet, 2008, p. 178)

As I studied various worldviews, listened to videos and read the discussion threads by my classmates, I recognized that integral to congruency in my life within the body of Christ is holding fast to my stance and not allowing the world’s philosophies or ideologies to water down my personal faith. It is my desire to seek unity and wholeness according to God’s standards – and not be compromised by man’s delusional thinking.

The passage that captures my theological perspective is eloquently written in the book of Ephesians:

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” ~ Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

One day, we must ALL answer the question, “Who was this man Jesus – to me?” Will we be prepared to face our Creator and say with confidence that we became intimately acquainted with His Son?

For me it is this simple: I will continue to be a student of God’s Holy Word, for it is within the pages of His Book that I will receive all that I need to live a life worthy of His calling. “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

As we begin our day today, my prayer is that the Spirit of the Most High will move in our hearts and minds in such a way that we will not be intimidated or confused by the world’s views and ideologies. My prayer for you and me is that we hold fast to what we know to be God’s truth…and trust that He has already prepared our path and our purpose.

“Papa God, give us courage to stand firm. Help us to be your hands and feet. Give us a Spirit of gentleness so that as you give us opportunities to share your Truth, we do so with love, grace and compassion. In Jesus’ Name…Amen”.

In His Strong Love,
Rose

Passing Through The Valley of Dry Bones!


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THE WORD: “This vision message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.”  (Habakkuk 2:3 – The Message)

I’ve been going through a dry spell…through a parched, desolate desert, metaphorically speaking. My movement forward at times seemingly futile. Yet something within me….a divinely apportioned angst…is my barometer that reminds me it is necessary to continue on my journey. And so I trek through the valley of dry bones…listening to the lifeless rattling sound they make as I walk amongst them.  (Ezekiel 37:1-2)

One thing I’ve learned, as I reflect back on my journey thus far, is that it’s right smack dab in the middle of my valleys where, time after time, my heart has been re-awakened! It has always been in the midst of a dry desert storm that I come to a vivid realization of my desperate need for Papa God, not only as my Savior, but also as my LORD! It is there…as He walks alongside me…that He whispers in my ear, hold on to My promises!

It is there…right smack in the middle of the valley…that He quickens His Spirit within me, and breathes life back into my dry bones! It is there that the brilliance of His majesty is demonstrated and my heart resounds with uncontainable gladness! It is there that I rejoice and praise my Papa God with such clarity of heart, mind and soul! Yes…it is in the midst of the valley that my bones come alive…the tendons and the strength once again rise up and dance in adulation!  (Ezekiel 37:5-14)

The dry spell is broken and the vision awaits me! It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, I will wait because it’s on its way. It will come right on time! His timing is perfect.  For now I will do what my Lord requires of me. I will continue to prophesy over the valley…I will sing the psalms of ascent and continue to take the steps that are necessary to reach the destination appointed just for me.

I will pray with confidence the prayer to succeed as a servant of my Holy KING!

If you find yourself in the middle of a valley, look up! Lift your eyes to the heavens! See the glory of His face and allow Him to lift you up under His wing! Take refuge in His strength! He is the Alpha and Omega, Creator of all things! He delights in you and has placed a perfect angst inside your heart that cannot be extinguished!

So pilgrim…pray the prayer of Nehemiah with me: Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

May our Papa God embrace you on your journey…today and always!

In His strong love ~ rose

A “Dangerous” Kind of Faith


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THE WORD: “No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:5-10 NLT

In what ways do I deviate from the instructions of the Lord? How do I compromise? How often do I keep a “safe” distance? What boundaries does God put in place that I continually override with my selfish desires? Do I take the necessary risks when I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me, or do I hold back out of fear? Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear that I won’t be good enough, or smart enough, fear to face a circumstance head on. Is it fear that drives my decisions, rather than obedience to the instruction of the Lord?

Yesterday’s message at our church, Sagebrush Community Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was about leveraging EVERYTHING I have for the King who gave EVERYTHING for me! I was challenged to take an inward look at what I am doing to serve the ONE who created me. I exist because God allows me to be. He gives me breath…He makes my heart beat. Why would I not want to serve my Creator with all that I am!

What it means to live a “dangerous faith” can be defined within the verses above. Be “strong and courageous” the Word tells us. In other words, DO NOT COMPROMISE! Don’t be foolish and squander your life on the things of this world. Do not waste time by putting off until tomorrow the things that God is prompting you to do today. Let us rid ourselves of laziness and procrastination! Seize the moment! Begin today by engaging in the work that He has prepared for you to do! Look around…the assignments are ever-present! Be ready, be prepared and do not fear! Be courageous because God has promised that no matter what, HE will be with you wherever you go! Trust in His promise and hold fast to the Truth of His instruction. Put on His armor before you walk out the door (Ephesians 6)! Feast on His Word so that your strength is in HIM, rather than in the illusion of strength offered by the world!

And secondly, living a dangerous faith means letting go of the past…cutting loose the baggage that weighs us down; turning away from the sin(s) that hold us in bondage. It may mean letting go of habits that are defiling our body, soul and mind! It may mean cleaning up in the area of “moral integrity”….letting go of the relationship(s) that aren’t God honoring. It’s saying “NO” to those things and those people who hold us back from making Christ the first love of our lives! It may mean speaking TRUTH in love to someone, knowing that the TRUTH may not be well received; and accepting the fact that the relationship may end.

Am I willing to give it my all? Am I willing to live a dangerous faith for the ONE who put HIS life on the Cross so that I may live? THAT my friend…epitomized a dangerous kind of faith!

“Papa God, ‘Thank you” is not enough! We can’t even begin to repay you for the demonstration of your unconditional love on the cross. We thank you that the gift of your forgiveness and your GRACE is just that…a gift. So undeserved! We are so grateful and so humbled by it! Open our minds and our hearts today to take in the magnificence of your amazing gift! Help us, Papa…ignite a passion in the center of our beings…an angst that will not quit….a desire so strong that we will be compelled to rise up and take a bold and courageous stand for YOU! Give us a desire to crave the reading your Word consistently—with no deviation…no compromise from your teaching! And as we read, help us to listen and discern carefully your voice! Bless this day so that in it, we will do Your will and not our own! In Jesus name we ask and pray! Amen”

In HIS Strong Love,

rose

A Leap of Faith…


Christ followers accept the Father’s teaching with the same unquestioning trust a child displays when he believes what he’s told by his dad. My son Derick illustrated this principle to me in a way that has always stuck in my mind. I was attending Purdue University at the time, and I lived with my family in a mobile home park near the campus in West Lafayette. Whenever I got an opportunity, I enjoyed hanging out with my young sons, Derick and Aaron.

During one these special times we were wobbling a Frisbee back and forth between us when somehow it landed on the top of the trailer. So I did what any safety-conscious dad would do. Rather than boosting Aaron up, who was lighter, I decided on Derick, because he was older—about five years old. Aaron was two, and my better judgment told me he was a tad too young to be on the roof alone.

As I boosted Derick up onto the roof to retrieve the Frisbee, I reminded him to be careful. That’s what good dads do. I didn’t want him to learn from experience what it felt like to fall from that height. Derick tossed the Frisbee to me, and then asked how he should get down. I told him to jump. As soon as the words—or rather word—left my lips, he was in the air, headed in my direction.

I didn’t think about it at the time, but afterward I wondered how much more free-flowing my life would be if I was as trusting of my heavenly Daddy as Derick was of me at that moment. At the time I was just focused on catching him. He was in the air, and the only thing between him and the concrete pad was me.

There’s no need for a Christ follower with the mind of a trusting child to understand why it’s safe to trust. We just do. And we don’t need evidence to prove what God has told us. Our faith is never bolstered by studies and discoveries that prove by science that the impossible may be explained by scientific knowledge.

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