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Archive for September, 2009

Websites

Two websites were reccommended to me that I want to pass along.

www.braveheartedgospel.com is a website of blogs and a collection of very good sermons.

www.tangle.com is a collection of of Christian Youtube type stuff.

Worth checking out.

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Better Now In the Turns

1 John 3:11-24

 

In the sport of Nascar, small adjustments can create big changes in a car’s ability to handle turns; and in Nascar, there are a lot of turns.  By tweaking the air pressure of just one tire by as little as ½ pound, it can be worth a whole pound of cure. 

 

Similarly in our walk with God, He is always making, or trying to make, small adjustments to improve our ability to handle turns.  Our turns, whether opportunities or obstacles, are turns in life, and in life there are a lot of turns.  To help me in mine, the Lord just made a slight adjustment in me.    

 

I recently shared an idea with a friend that seemed to fall flat.  All day long I felt like I didn’t fit – like I had nothing to contribute.  The next morning I received an affirming email from him, and conversely my mind was reeling with thoughts that fit and contributed perfectly. 

 

The Lord used that to help me see something; the value – the power – of affirming others.  It is so easy to get so wrapped up in wanting to be the recipient of affirmation that we miss opportunities of being the giver of it.   

 

1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers”.  If we focus on just the physical act of dying, we can miss the dying He did along the way, while He was still alive.  What an incredible opportunity we have if we can learn to lay down, in our lives, the cravings of our lives that we might truly help and encourage our brothers.   

 

Like in the Nascar illustration; it wasn’t that the car was bad, it just wasn’t as good as it could be.  I hadn’t altogether missed this point, I just wasn’t as good at it as I could be.  His tweaking has helped my focus.  As a result, I am just a little better now in the turns.

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A few days ago I was watching a documentary which included a clip about the early Americans who, against incredible odds, made their way out west.  Convinced that there was something better, they risked all to get there.

 

As I seem to be on a personal journey in my walk with God, where I am convinced that there is something better – convinced that we the church have settled for far too little – I wondered. . . are there any pioneers left that are willing to face this frontier?

 

In many cases, fields we see today were not always fields.  They were at one time cleared to become fields.  Over time, if the owner of the field does not stay on top of it, the edge of the woods can gradually creep in and eventually some of the cleared ground is lost. 

 

Has that not happened to the church?  Have we not given up ground to Satan’s lies and slight twists of the truth until the church no longer has the power that it should have?  Have we not allowed ourselves to be ‘dumbed down’ until our lives haven’t even the slightest hint of the abundance we claim we’re supposed to have?

 

There is a battle going on.  We’re not doing so good.  Are there any pioneers left who believe there is something better and are willing to risk all to obtain it?  The church needs you.

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1 John 3

 

1 John 3:6 “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.  No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him”. 

1 John 3:9 “No one who is born of God will continue to sin”.

 

Those are pretty strong words.  I have struggled over their meanings many times.  But this time I noticed something I had never picked up on before.

 

John is writing to believers (5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life”).  He is writing, partly, about deceivers (4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God”). 

 

In light of that, it makes more sense that though he is writing 3:6 and 3:9 to those who believe, I think he is writing about those who are trying to deceive.

 

John addresses both ends.  He addresses the deceivers who have not seen God, known God, or been born of God, and as a result continue in sin.  He also addresses the believers who have seen God, known God, and been born of God, and as a result do not continue in sin. 

 

As he exposes the disqualified and encourages the qualified, he has an overall tone of warning – “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray” (3:7). To both ends and to all in between; to believers who have to some degree been deceived, there is warning. 

 

Maybe it is just enough to keep them from knowing God to the extent that He is able to be known.  Maybe it is to the point that God is now seldom in their thoughts.  Maybe it is to the point of being dead in the middle where they have just the right amount of God and just the right amount of sin to satisfy both sides?

 

John’s letter provides an opportunity for all of us to evaluate where we are.  He gives us truth to counter all that is false.  What have we come to believe?  How does it measure up?  To what extent do we continue in sin?  To what extent have we seen God – known God?

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1 John 2:7-29

 

John has just made this statement in 2:6, “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did”.  In the next few verses he gives us two examples of how He walked.  As I stated in ‘A New Set of Cravings’, these examples are not intended to be our focus – they’re not items we can add to a list of things we must do or not do – instead they are more like the revealing test of litmus which turns blue in alkaline and red in acid.

 

That being said, in 2:9 John says, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness”.  In 2:15 he says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. 

 

Hard stuff if our focus is on the examples – if we’ve added them to our list of things we have to do and not do.  But again, when we focus on doing the things Jesus did in private, then and only then will we do the things He did in public – consistently.  John doesn’t write to condemn us, but simply to reveal where we are – to warn us.

 

In 2:22 he acknowledges the influence of the antichrist – “the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ”.  I couldn’t help but to think of all the sources of media that may not come right out and say they deny that ‘Jesus is the Christ’, but the values they portray sat it, and yet many fill their minds with it.  When we allow our minds to be filled with so many things that are in opposition to His values, it is inevitable that we will then not ‘walk as He did’.

 

In 2:26 John says, “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray”.  In case we are not passing the litmus test, he warns of the forces that are working against us that may be keeping us from it.  Better to be reminded now while there is still time to correct “so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming”.

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