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The Essence of Life

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The Essence of Life

What is the essence of life?
That is the philosopher’s question.
That is the Bible’s question.

What is the essence of your life?
If you boiled down your life to its basic elements
What would be its essence?
What is the basis for your life?
Why do you do what you do?

One philosopher said:
Cogito ergo Sum – I think, therefore I am.
Does thinking make you who you are?
Does knowing that you can think make you know that you exist?

What if, as a man, I wake up some morning and think I am a woman?
What if that thinking is the result of long term thinking and feeling?
Would that process make me a woman or whatever …?

Could there be something else?
An unnamed philosopher said:
Amor ergo sum: I love, therefore I am.
Could loving make you who you are?
Could being loved make you who you are?
Could love and loving make you who you should be?

What makes God who He is?
God is Love
Love is one of His primary characteristics.
God loved His creation so much
Than He gave the best He had.

Do you love that much?
Can you love that much?
God give His creation in finite measure
What He possessed in infinite measure.
You are not love
But you can have love
Because God shares His love with you.
All love is God’s love.
When you love, you share the love that He gave to you
With those around you.

Apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:
And this I pray,
That your love may abound still more and more
In knowledge
And all discernment
That you may approve the things that are excellent,
That you may be sincere
And that you may be without offense
And until the day of Christ,
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness
Which are by Jesus Christ,
To the glory and praise of God.

If your love abounds more and more
That love will produce a life
Of so much of God
That you will be filled with the fruits of righteousness
Which are by Jesus Christ
To the glory and praise of God!
Amen.

Moses and Faith

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By Faith

 

By faith Moses, when he was born,
was hidden three months by his parents,
because they saw he was a beautiful child;
and they were not afraid of the king’s command.

By faith Moses, when he became of age,
refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;
For he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood,
Lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land,
Whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.

Hebrews 11:23-29

Moses – the Man of God

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Moses – the Man of God

Some men are unique because they represent God in and with their lives. Moses was one of those men.

His life was saved by the discernment and courage of his parents and the affections of Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses had two mothers. They were both women of courage and strength. His birth mother had the courage and wisdom to not allow him to be killed but found a way to preserve his life. His adoptive mother had the courage to violate her father’s edict to kill all the Hebrew baby boys. His strength would be a result of theirs. Eventually he would identify as a Hebrew.

When he realized that he was a Hebrew and that his people were enslaved in his native Egypt, he got involved in the lives of God’s people, his people. Who was he really? Was he a Hebrew as some must have known or was he an Egyptian as he certainly appeared and was recognizable?

One day noticing an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew slave, Moses killed the Egyptian.

The next day, Moses saw two Hebrew men in conflict. He attempted to intervene and bring reconciliation. One of the men, however said, “Are you going to kill us like you did the Egyptian? Moses knew his deed was known and Pharaoh tried to kill Moses. His only option was to flee. He fled many miles away to the land of Midian.

In the land of Midian, shepherd girls came to water their sheep. Some men drove them away from the water. Moses intervened again. He protected the girls and their animals from the men and he watered their sheep. They went home and told their father that an Egyptian cared for them and protected them and watered their sheep. Their father insisted that they invite this “Egyptian” to their home and a meal. Moses will marry one of these girls.

What kind of man was Moses? “He was trained in all the learning of the Egyptians. He was mighty in words and in deeds.” He knew many things. He was apparently skilled in writing. We believe that he recorded many events. The Pentateuch is knows as the five books of Moses.

Justice was a huge part of his character.
He could not stand by and watch abuse of a Hebrew by an Egyptian.
He could not stand by and watch struggle without attempting reconciliation.
He could not observe men driving girls away from watering their animals without intervention.

Results
He was blamed for causing problems.
He was willing to intervene in difficult situations.
He did intervene in difficult situations.
His motives were misunderstood.
His intention was to bless his people.
His intention was to protect his people.
His intention was to defend the helpless.
His heart was reconciliation for his people.
His heart was to protect young ladies from dangerous men.
His preparation made him capable of blessing and protecting.
He had the conviction and he had the preparation.
He must have been an impressive man to do all that he did.
God would take him through many trials to shape him further.
The burning bush symbolized that God was in His people and would not allow them to be destroyed.
God met him there.

God’s men
This is not infrequently the experience of God’s men.
Their heart of justice involves them in difficult situations.
Their willingness to do justice calls them into difficult problems.
Their willingness to do right brings them into question by peers.
Their willingness to do right brings them into conflict with power.
Their willingness to do right can make enemies of those who would take advantage of those who are weaker.
Their willingness to be vulnerable makes them approachable.

They refuse to be cowed by powerful men who are evil.
They refuse to be controlled by powerful men who are wrong.
They refuse to be pulled into political or other ideologies.
They refuse to be controlled by impressive/convincing narratives.

This was the preparation of the Moses who would lead God’s people out of bondage.

Where are these men today?
Men who grew up in families who had courage and conviction.
Men with fathers who stood for truth.
Men with mothers who stood for the right.
Men who stand for justice and righteousness.
Men who are not afraid to stand for the right at any cost.
Men who cannot be bought at any price.

Where are these men?
Today?

Survival or Service? About purpose of life II

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Survival or Service? About purpose of life II

Control
What puts people into survival mode?
When people do not feel safe, their brain puts them in survival mode
So they can survive. That produces control.
People turn to control when they feel threatened
There are two patterns available when we feel threatened

1. Survival mode – Turning our hurt into control –
Injury>hurt>pain>fear>anger>unhealthy thinking>insecurity>defensive>control
OR
2. Service mode – Turning our hurts into service –
Injury>fear>power>love>sound thinking>healing>security>vulnerability>service

Choices
These are choices we make. We have all been hurt. Do you want to just survive or do you want to serve the people around you? Those are very different choices. Those choices will determine your life. Do you want to live a life of service for God and people or do you want to focus on your self and miss the blessings of being a blessing?

Care
We need self-care instead of self-protection – good food, sleep, and relationships.
It is not about winning – It is about relationships of respect, protect, correct, direct
And with sympathy, empathy, and compassion
Emotional availability – share carefully but not just “unload the truck” on everyone
When we are raised without adequate love, we learn to not trust love
We can learn to not be discerning about love and so we fear and hide from love
We mostly hide from real love and tend to accept shallow and false love
Because we struggle to know the difference
Real love can get very close and sometimes intense in its expressions
Because of what it offers but,
God is waiting and looking for us in our hiding places.

Counselors
Counselors who focus on survival mode cannot guide people into love and truth.
They focus on feeling and will marginalize anyone who can guide the person into truth.
They teach life as therapeutic experience – life is supposed to bless ‘me’
This is internal referent – it allows life to be what you want it to be
Wise counselors gently guide lives into love and truth and obedience and service.

Conclusions
Living in survival mode leads to control and unhealthy relationships
Living in service mode leads to joy and healthy relationships
Service mode leads to usefulness in the Kingdom of God

In God’s Kingdom we do not primarily seek safety
We seek how we can serve God and other people
Sometimes that is not safe

We may not be safe
But – We know that we are loved
And – we know that we are called to live right

Your brain wants to know, Am I safe?
Your heart wants to know, Am I loved?
Your mind wants to know, Am I right?

Being safe is optional
Being loved is imperative
Being right is safety

The five young men speared by Aucas
Did not primarily seek the safe path.
They sought God’s way.
They blessed.
They loved.
They were right.

He who seeks to save his life
Will lose it.
He who loses his life for God’s sake
Will find it.

It is your choice.
Today.

The Cost of Sanctification

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The Cost of Sanctification
By Oswald Chambers

May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely… —1 Thessalonians 5:23
When we pray, asking God to sanctify us, are we prepared to measure up to what that really means?
We take the word sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared to pay the cost of sanctification?
The cost will be a deep restriction of all our earthly concerns,
And an extensive cultivation of all our godly concerns.

Sanctification means to be intensely focused on God’s point of view. It means to secure and to keep all the strength of our body, soul, and spirit for God’s purpose alone. Are we really prepared for God to perform in us everything for which He separated us? And after He has done His work, are we then prepared to separate ourselves to God just as Jesus did? “For their sakes I sanctify Myself…” (John 17:19).

The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God’s perspective. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the nature that controlled Him will control us. Are we really prepared for what that will cost? It will cost absolutely everything in us which is not of God.

Are we prepared to be caught up into the full meaning of Paul’s prayer in this verse? Are we prepared to say, “Lord, make me, a sinner saved by grace, as holy as You can”? Jesus prayed that we might be one with Him, just as He is one with the Father (see John 17:21-23).

The resounding evidence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life is the unmistakable family likeness to Jesus Christ, and the freedom from everything which is not like Him. Are we prepared to set ourselves apart for the Holy Spirit’s work in us?

God’s plan is to conform believers into the image of His Son Romans 8:29.

Survival or Service?

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Survival or Service? About purpose of life

Survival and carnal Christianity is about the brain
If people are in survival mode they cannot hear truth.
In survival mode they can only hear what they perceive they need for survival.
It may be food or protection, or pleasure, or whatever they feel that they need at the time
It is about the brain and its task of preserving life
Preserve life by keeping the body systems functioning
Procreate life by sexual expression/exploitation
Pleasure of the body by eating, sleeping, exercise, etc.
Immature Christian appetites – lack of self-regulation
All of this is internal focus– the personal internal referent of self is in control

Service and Spiritual Christianity is about the heart
If people live in service mode they can and will seek and hear the truth.
If their focus is on serving God and others, they can hear and will welcome truth.
Truth with love will be seen as the answer to life’s problems
It is about the heart and its call to love God and others
This is external focus- the personal impact of Scripture and the Holy Spirit is in control
It is an external referent to guide the person into productive and service oriented thinking and living.
Bible – We are servants and slaves. Phil. 2:5-8 – let the mind of Christ be in you

Becoming the “Filth of the World”

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Becoming the “Filth of the World”
By Oswald Chambers

We have been made as the filth of the world… —1 Corinthians 4:13
These words are not an exaggeration. The only reason they may not be true of us who call ourselves ministers of the gospel is not that Paul forgot or misunderstood the exact truth of them, but that we are too cautious and concerned about our own desires to allow ourselves to become the refuse or “filth of the world.” “Fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” (Colossians 1:24) is not the result of the holiness of sanctification, but the evidence of consecration— being “separated to the gospel of God…” (Romans 1:1).

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you…” (1 Peter 4:12). If we do think the things we encounter are strange, it is because we are fearful and cowardly. We pay such close attention to our own interests and desires that we stay out of the mire and say, “I won’t submit; I won’t bow or bend.” And you don’t have to— you can be saved by the “skin of your teeth” if you like.

You can refuse to let God count you as one who is “separated to the gospel….” Or you can say, “I don’t care if I am treated like ‘the filth of the world’ as long as the gospel is proclaimed.” A true servant of Jesus Christ is one who is willing to experience martyrdom for the reality of the gospel of God.

When a moral person is confronted with contempt, immorality, disloyalty, or dishonesty, he is so repulsed by the offense that he turns away and in despair closes his heart to the offender. But the miracle of the redemptive reality of God is that the worst and the vilest offender can never exhaust the depths of His love. Paul did not say that God separated him to show what a wonderful man He could make of him, but “to reveal His Son in me…” (Galatians 1:16).

Whispering Hope

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Whispering Hope

Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard,
Hope with a gentle persuasion
Whispers her comforting word:
Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done,
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

If, in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar,
Will not the deepening darkness
Brighten the glimmering star?
Then when the night is upon us,
Why should my heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

Hope, as an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil o’er the soul,
Whither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of its goal.
Come then, O come, glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary heart;
Come, O Thou blest hope of glory,
Never, O never depart.

Whispering hope, oh how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice.

by Alice Hawthorne,
one of the pseudonyms used by the 19th century songwriter
Septimus Winner.

Holy Spirit – Anointing

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Holy Spirit – Anointing

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:
Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil;
For God was with him. Acts 10:38

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life.
These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you.
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and
You do not need that anyone teach you; but as
The same anointing teaches you concerning all things,
And is true, and
Is not a lie,
And just as it has taught you,
You will abide in Him.

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. From I John 2:20-29

Nice or Truth?

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Nice or Truth?

Nice or truth – which will it be?
Must it be either or can it be both?
If it must be either, which will it be?
Which would you prefer?
Which do you think is best?
Which is safest?

Observing a recently recorded discussion between two politicians, the difference was glaring. The one was speaking. The other was challenging, even while the one was speaking.

The challenge was that the speaker was not telling the truth. The speaker was contradicting their earlier statements. “Both could not be true,” the challenger said. The speaker smiled broadly and said, graciously, “You are interrupting me.” The challenger said, “But you are not telling the truth.” “But you are interrupting me” the speaker said with a big smile. The smile belied the confident force of public opinion behind the smile.

The message was clear. It is OK to tell lies or misrepresent the facts but it is not OK to interrupt the one telling the lies. How amazing is this? How did we get here? In a modern, post-modern, post-truth system of society, it is OK to lie but it is not OK to confront the person who is lying. So, nice has replaced truth.

For sure it is not nice to interrupt.
But is it nice to tell lies as if they were the truth?
Is it OK to interrupt the lies and the one telling the lies?
Could it possibly be necessary to interrupt the process of deception masquerading as being nice.
How can we do that?
Who is willing to do that?
Will we accept lies if they are told by a nice person in a nice way?
Will we marginalize or ostracize the person telling the truth?
Will we honor the truth no matter who or how it is told?
Will we honor the truth no matter the force of public opinion?
Will we accept the lies if they are told in nice ways that make us feel good?
Who can or will interrupt this destructive system of untruth that makes people feel so good?
Do you really love someone if you allow them to believe nice lies?
Do you really love someone if you allow them to tell themself lies?

When Joseph’s brothers brought his blood stained coat to his father, they were so polite and nice – and deceptive. With no accusations, they presented evidence that would imply an incident that did not happen and was not true. They covered their sin with deceit. They allowed their father to arrive at an obvious but erroneous conclusion. That brought years of pain to their father. Eventually, their deception would catch up with them.

The Bible says, Speak the truth with love.
Have I become your enemy because I have told you the truth?
Telling the truth will often cause tensions.

Better to be accused for doing or saying what is true than for doing or saying what is not true.

There are political systems and there are truth systems.
How can we tell the difference since political systems can be so nice?
When truth is presented, is it appreciated and accepted?
When lies are presented, are they challenged and rejected?
That is how you can tell what kind of system is operating.

Nice trumps truth today.
Principles must bow to expectations.
Accuracy must bow to desire.
Evidence must bow to deceit.
Facts must bow to feelings.
Truth must bow to nice.
Nothing could be more harmful to our Spiritual life.
Nice is not a Fruit of The Spirit

Jesus said:
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.
God’s Word is truth.
I am the way, the truth, and the life.

Chose love
Chose truth
Chose life