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The Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three in One. Our God is One.

Creation

One Command

Disobedience, Sin, and Death (all sin is against God, and carries a sentence of death)

God’s plan of Redemption is already in motion. (Even before the Fall of Adam)

The Law is given. To graphically show mankind is incapable of the perfection God requires for redemption and acceptance into His Holy presence.

Prophecy given of the Messiah, the Christ who will perfectly satisfy God’s requirements for mankind’s redemption.

Prophecy fulfilled in Bethlehem as a virgin gives birth to Emanuel.

Jesus, fully man, and fully God lives among us. At the age of 30 is baptized by his cousin John the Baptist (the herald of God). As he came out of the water, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit blessed and anointed him for the ministry he was about to undertake.

His perfectly sinless life, three years of ministry and proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven is the linchpin of all history.

His trial, his humiliation, his beating, scourging and finally crucifixion were part of God’s plan of redemption. On the Cross Jesus’ work was finished. Does that not move you? The magnitude of those words Jesus cried from the Cross, “IT IS FINISHED!”

He was buried in a borrowed tomb that man tried to seal in order to prevent God’s prophecy from being fulfilled… but on that third morning, the stone was moved and the grave was found empty!
He is Risen!!!

And because He is risen and is alive we, who are his, shall be resurrected to everlasting life with him where he has prepared a place for us. In him we are sons and daughters of the Most High God.

His plan
His life
His work
God the Father is satisfied
His Mercy extended
His gift given
His Love in us
His life in us

Do you see what He has done?
Are you his?
Are you in Christ?
Where is your hope?
If not in Christ, then in whom, in what?

John 14:1-6
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
And you know the way to where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Our God is mighty to save.

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Stumbling blocks

I almost wrote a story for a contest. The prize was $20k.  I laid it out in my head and almost wrote it down to submit. 

In the end, I talked myself out of it. I know no one needs another voice cluttering up space on the internet with useless words. 

Maybe I should have?

But I didn’t 

And another opportunity to change my life passed me by without fanfare or notice. 

It’s not that I have nothing to say… Lord knows I’ll talk your ears off if you’re around me very long. But that’s just diarrhea of the mouth, words being ejaculated without meaning or substance. I should have something to say, something of substance and worth.  In the end it was the lack of substance, the lack of worth, and the lack of courage that kept me from submitting anything. 

Would I read what I wrote?  

Probably not… so why burden anyone else?

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In the Father…

John 17:15-22

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Is this real to you?

Did Jesus pray for you? Are you his? Are you in him as he is in the Father?

Here is our sure and certain hope: that we are in Christ Jesus  just as he is in the Father… because the Father has given us to him and all that the Father has given him… he has lost none! 

Here in this verse we see that Jesus prayed for all of those whom the Father has given him… not just the 11 (12 counting Paul, the disciple out of time)  but all those who believe because of the word that they preached from that point forward. Think about it… Jesus Christ, before going to the cross, prayed for every believer that was his. 

Here we also see the truth of sanctification and holiness.  Both of which are not works that we do, it’s not something we gin up and is accounted to us because of our efforts. Actually just the opposite, we do the works because of this reality… that we are being conformed to his likeness, that as we grow in Christ we become more holy because he is holy and our sanctification is the outworking of becoming more Christ like. 

Our works are not what sanctifies us, our works are the result of our being sanctified. Our works are the results of our becoming holy just as he is holy.  As we become more “in him” we can’t help but do those things that show outward authentication of who we are becoming inwardly.

If our Holiness and our sanctification were something that we could do something that we could work up then we would boast in it. We would be prideful in our boasting “hey look at me, look how sanctified I am, look how holy I am” but we know that there is nothing good in us. All we can boast of is who we are in Christ because of what he has done, because of who he is, because he has redeemed us to be his own!

If it was something that we did in and of ourselves how would we ever know that we had done it right enough, or well enough, or sincerely enough, or righteously enough, or that we did it with enough humility because at that point our humility would become boasting. No… it’s all Christ! It’s all him and it’s all who we are in him. What an awesome reality that it’s not what we do it’s what he has already done, it’s who he is and because of his love for us.

Selah 

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Awaiting Eagerly

Hebrews 9:27-28

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Here again we see the reality and distinction of the resurrection. We see the reality of the finished work of Christ’s death on the cross; sin and the consequences of sin were dealt with and paid in full. Most Christians even, fail to fully grasp the enormity of this. It is seen as a one-time thing that saves them. Something separate from their daily life. I know I certainly have been guilty of this.

Christ was offered “once” so that we could benefit continually from his sacrifice, that we might live daily, in remembrance of what Christ did on our behalf so that we are “eagerly waiting for him.”

I know the world and the flesh have been defeating me for some time now. My eyes were focused on me, my thoughts were only on me, and all I could see was darkness. Then about a month or so ago a verse popped into my head and took root:

Ephesians 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

And so began my climb out of darkness back into the light. That light is Christ, and Christ is the resurrection and the life. He is the Good News!
It is the Gospel we need!
Every single day!
Especially we Christians!

How can we share what we don’t possess?
If it’s not real to us, tangibly real to us, and precious to us… then what do we have to share? Some moral, self help, snippets?
There’s no power in that!
The power is in the Gospel of Christ!
What Christ has done!
When THAT is real to us, real in us…THEN we can’t help but share what Christ has done for us, and who Christ is to us.

Remember when you were first saved? Remember the joy?
Remember how you were so grateful for what he did that, like the woman at the well, you wanted to tell everyone??
That’s the power of the Gospel of Christ in our everyday life! That’s our eager awaiting!

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Life has Meaning

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

If there is no resurrection then our faith is in vain and we are left miserable for our life is only here and now. If life is only here and now then there is no consequence for how we live, if that is so, then we should live to fulfill every desire of our hearts here and now.

Aldous Huxley understood this.
I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever

But we have a sure and certain hope, expectation, evidence, of the resurrection. We are sure of our future resurrection because of the example of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. And with it, life beyond death. Life greater than our mortal minds can even comprehend.

Proving:
That this life does have meaning.
That it does have moral absolutes.
That there are consequences.
And that life is found in the one who has conquered the results of man’s disobedience to his creator (death, hell, and the grave)… Jesus Christ.
That is Good News indeed!

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I see him every day
Looking back at me
I see his contempt
And raise him, loathing
We tried to be friends once
We merely tolerate each other’s existence now
I’m not sure I ever liked him.
Now… Our enmity is our common bond
I’d spit in his eye, but then I’d have to clean the mirror.

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The Unexamined/Unlived life

who wants to live forever?

… especially if the life was never truly lived

If life was only a dreary existence in a tedious job, bereft of passion and imagination… Would it really be worth living?

And yet..

Here I am.

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Re-begin the Beguine

A lesson in failure and just how much misery one is willing to accept and tolerate. The fact that I never followed through on this post is testament to the amount of failure I am willing to endure. I never really understood the phrase, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” until now. The horse has to want it. And until you want it you won’t do it, and you won’t want it until it becomes priority. Quite the commentary on my priorities isn’t it?


I have been loath to write this particular blog as it highlights the fact that I failed the first time.

One thing about life is that it’s always in flux, always changing, never really settled. Sometimes I feel that life is a series of attempts at nailing Jell-O to the wall. Case in point, my battle with the bulge.  7 years ago (8 now) almost to the day I started a fitness routine and I was very motivated. I worked very hard at it and I’d lost almost 80 lbs but… I then I ended up losing the battle, I lost my motivation.. I lost my will… I lost. And in losing I gained everything bad back and then some.

7 years ago I started off at 322 lbs, it was bad… really bad, I had let myself go and I really didn’t realize in how bad of shape I was. I vowed that I would never let myself go there again… It’s amazing how well we lie to ourselves.  We tell ourselves we will, or we won’t do something and then turn around and do the very thing that we vowed we wouldn’t.  Today, I weigh in at 342.5 lbs.

Somewhere along the journey I fell into self-sabotage. I remember reading about self-sabotage, somebody said that self sabotage takes place because there’s some some conflict, some issue in our lives that is causing us pain or suffering and we know that we should do something about it but we don’t therefore we react at a subconscious level, sabotaging ourselves in other areas of our life. An intriguing idea to be sure. But, no matter why,  I had begun a serious campaign of self-sabotage against my efforts to lose weight and get in shape. It killed my motivation and eventually, as with most things in my life, I quit… again.

I’m not saying this to necessarily beat myself up over it, it’s just stating facts.

So, why do we do the things that we do? I believe that we act out of either a great desire to make a change, or fear, or we just become so miserable that we I have no other option. I would like to think that I am acting out of a deep desire to become healthy and and get in shape, but the reality is this time around it’s the misery Factor. I have become so miserable in my own body that I’ve got to do something.

The thing about losing weight and getting in shape is that it’s never done. It’s a doing that will never be done because when you stop doing then you’re done.

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Islands

John Donne said “No man is an island.”
I submit we have become just that, individual islands.
We are not self sustaining islands but islands nonetheless. More and more we insulate and isolate ourselves. The more we detach from others, the more we see others as a threat at worst, an inconvenience at least. The farther we draw away the easier it becomes to shut others out. It’s a spiral.
It’s a designed spiral.

The less we are around people the easier it is to dehumanize them. Once we start down that path we are lost. And I fear that in America these days we are a long way down that path already.

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As Sparks Fly Upward

There are many truths that we take for granted each day but we still rely on them to remain true. We rely on the sun breaking the Eastern horizon every morning and bringing us light for a new day. We rely on gravity to keep us grounded but not so excessively that we are not able to move around. We rely on our senses to tell us something is hot, cold, wet, sharp, painful, sweet or sour, odorless or putrid. We trust when we feel “heat” something may burn us. When we feel rain, we know we are going to get wet.

 

There are other truths that we recognize regarding our feelings and emotions. Love, hate, indifference, foreboding, happiness, Joy, and justice. These are the intangibles that we call intuition, gut feeling, or our inner voice. We know something is wrong but we don’t know why. We sense someone is insincere but we can’t put our finger on it. We connect with someone almost immediately and we call it chemistry. Each of these are real and true even if we can’t give a tangible reason of proof.

 

Some of these intangibles are the anchors in life. Love, beauty, Faith, justice, hope and friendship: these are defining factors in our lives. I would even say they are life-sustaining. Life can become very dark for us all some times, and at times it can become totally blackened. Wars, depression, death, destruction, natural disasters, all of these try the human soul and spirit. I have often said that such times and circumstances bring out the true character in each of us. As the song goes, “I see your true colors shining through.”

 

The bullys will bully still. The takers will be takers with a vengeance. The fearful will cower and jump at every shadow. The manipulators will make full use of the opportunity to gain advantage for themselves. The haters will hate even more and look for someone to blame. But…

 

…But, there will always be those who find the light and shine it all around them for others so that it isn’t quite so dark. The giver’s, the helpers, the peacemakers; for in these we see love, beauty, faith, justice, hope, and friendship. Truth and light that we can rely on in our darkest hours. 

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