Thanksgiving Exercise

Phm 6
That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.     KJV

Our faith becomes effective, ie, active or pwerful, as we acknowledge every good thing within us.

For most of God’s people, that is a high challenge. We are so frozen by fear of pride that we are not able to truly acknowledge whatever good thing God has wrought in us.

This ought not to be.

Rather than teach on pride/humility I would just like for us to exercise a little practice with this verse.

Each of us has gifts, talents, abilities that make us unique and give us a sense of accomplishment whenever we exercise them.

It is time to acknowledge them.

But, let’s not stop with ourselves. Let’s include someone else in our thanksgiving.

Here are the rules: 

  1. you must say one good thing about yourself–anything
  2. you must say one good thing about another person, and try to address it to that person
    (ie, Suzy, I like the way you always laugh at my jokes)
  3. if that person has a blog or website, you might want to leave them a little link-love, too when you comment
  4. you may comment as many times as you like through the week of Thanksgiving, but only leave one thing on each post.
  5. you do not have to return the compliment to one who said something about you

I’m going to leave this up for the week of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time for us to remember things that we are grateful for. Let us express our gratitude for who we are and for those who add something of themselves to our life.

You might want to send an e-mail to the person you compliment, and give them the link, because they may not read this blog. (I only average 20 hits/day.)

I have begun with the first comment.

There is the distinct possibility that we may learn more about this virtual community of which we are a part.

John 18–Blogged Bible Study

What is Truth?

Jn 18:38
Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?      KJV

Is it not interesting that Jesus did not respond to this question?

I imagine (please note that this is my imagination, not the Word!) that Pilate asked that question with a sneering attitude:
       “Humph! You Jews have one group that lords it over everyone else because they are sinners. And you have another group that thinks they are special because they are the only ones who know there is no resurrection. And you have another group who is looking for some sort of messiah to rescue them from Caesar’s rule. Each group claims to have the truth. So, Big Shot, what is truth?”

And since Jesus found no sincere asking, He did not respond. He had been responding. But not now.

He had already told everyone who would listen that He was the truth (John 14:6).

And had he answered Pilate with the truth of “I am,” would Pilate have been able to stand? (for more on this thought from another writer to this blog click here.)

There had to be a reason that Jesus did not reply, did not say anything.

Is it necessary that I always have a response or a retort to whatever is spoken in my direction?

Is it not possible that truth would be better served by my silence in some situations?

Must I always run off at the mouth?

Ps 141:3
Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.     KJV

NOTE: Others also contribute to this study throughout the week. Go here to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches

All of One

1 Co 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.       KJV

The Lord is saying something significant to us in this passage that I find to be usually glossed over in many circles.

This is something that we all certainly give lip service to, but the experiential outworking is quite different.

We all admit that we are a part of the Body, and that anyone can be a part of that same Body. But, when it comes to accepting someone from the ‘outside’ into our own local fellowship, that is a different story.

There are many within the church who want that new person who was saved Saturday night to get cleaned up, get rid of their body piercings and their cigarettes and their sleeping partner before they can come to church on Sunday.

Or, there are those who look askance at someone from a different culture who dresses differently from the accepted norm.

We are all of One. We are each a part of that One.

Regardless of what we look like, or what we wear, or how we talk, each one who comes to the Lord is a part of the Body.

Nothing must change but their inward devotion to sin and their outward practice of the same.

But, many of the saints among us, especially those of a more staid bent, tend to keep their distance from the new ones coming into their midst.

Most of the changes that people look for are merely cultural and have little to do with the reality of being a Christian. For too long now, we have used our culture to inform our religion, rather than our religion informing our culture.

Will the Lord find this acceptable when we stand before Him?

Blogged Bible Study–John 17

The Lord’s Prayer

In John 17 we have recorded for us the words Jesus used when He prayed the night before He died. While the “Our Father” is popularly called The Lord’s Prayer, it is in reality, a model prayer that Jesus gave in response to the disciples’ question about prayer. John 17 would be more appropriately titled “The Lord’s Prayer.”

This chapter is ordinarily divided into three sections: Jesus’ prayer for Himself (1-5); His prayer for His disciples (6-19); and His prayer for all believers (20-26). I find it instructive to look at the specific requests Jesus made to the Father from the entire chapter.

Glorify your son (1); keep them in your name (11); Keep them from the evil one (15); Sanctify them (17). Everything else is what He wanted as a result of His prayer–unity, joy, sanctification, and love. Unity, of course, is the one most often mentioned in this passage.

Let’s look at the four things Jesus requested.

Jesus prayed for the ‘big picture’ first, and then asked for each of the necessary details in succession of need. In other words, if taken from the last to the first, there is a progression that reveals the unity of the requests.

Sanctify them. Make them separate from the world; different from all others; holy.

In order for that to happen, they must be kept from the evil one. Most texts have ‘one‘ in italics, showing that it is not in the original manuscripts. Therefore, it would read, ‘Keep them from evil.’ Becoming holy is keeping, or being kept from association with evil.

Since I cannot do this in my own strength, I must be kept by the power of God, or, kept in His name.

If I am sanctified by an outward agency, and therefore kept from evil and hidden in His name, then I will glorify the Son.

Don’t we all want to be in the place where we glorify God?

Glory is the magnificence, the splendor, fame, honor, or renown of something. One of its major meanings is ‘reflection.’

This is the time of year when we begin to receive a multitude of catalogs showing us all the things we didn’t know we needed. Those things are presented in a glorious fashion. They are reflected to us in full color on glossy, shiny paper.

We are God’s catalog to the world. The world should be looking at the catalog and thinking, “I really need that!”

Another contributor to this study has pointed out how the world is getting a wrong concept of God, not from us, but from the world and its systems. Shouldn’t the world be getting its concept from us?

If we are the answer to The Lord’s Prayer–if we are God’s catalog of what it looks like to be loved, accepted, unified, and glorified–then what is my part? I am one of the pictures on the page of my neighbor’s catalog of God’s supply.

Do they want to buy?

NOTE: Other writers also contribute to this study on a daily basis. Add this link to your favorites and go there often.

His Word is My Word

2 Sa 23:2  “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.”    NKJV

This is the beginning of the last recorded words of King David as found in the second book of Samuel. We all know that David was used of the Lord to speak His word to his generation and recorded so that all generations to follow would have that word.

How is this great king, from whom the promised messiah would come different from the rest of us?

His acts and his words are recorded in the Bible, and I doubt that any of my words or acts will ever be found there. In every other way, we are the same. Our level of passion may differ, but David was truly human.

His acts–the good, the bad, and the ugly are recorded. His words–of praise, of provocation, of depression, of exultation are recorded.

These are recorded for our learning and admonition (warning), and we are to learn how we are to walk with God by the example of others who have gone before us.

There is something powerful to consider in the verse before us.

Without adding to or taking away from the Word, and without claiming any special extra-biblical revelation, can we not say the same as David? Should we not be able to?

We have each been given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. Each of us is in a different place in our walk with the Lord. Each of us requires different truth at different times for different reasons.

Sometimes, that word of direction comes from a different member of the Body.

Here is where it gets sticky and dangerous. (Some of you reading this are probably already forming your words of warning and correction. Put your sword away. I’m not going there. 🙂 )

It is not necessary, nor advisable to say, “The Lord told me to tell you…” It is equally unnecessary to say, “Thus saith the Lord…”

Those phrases have been used to misguide and entrap saints by well-intentioned believers and by deceitful false shepherds.

No. We should simply deliver that which the Spirit of God places upon our heart and let it go at that. If it is the word for that person in that hour, their spirit will witness to it as being of the Lord. That is all that is necessary.

But, we should be able to know–and at least say within ourselves–The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.

Jesus said that we are to do the works that He did and even greater. (Jn. 14:12)

He also said that His words were spirit and life, and that He only spoke what the Father gave Him (John 6:63; 14:10)

Part of becoming conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29) is being able to hear and speak what the Father says; to do only what we see the Father do.

And in that place, we, like David, will say, “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.”

“Dense” (Blogged Bible Study)–John 16

Jn 16:18
They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.    KJV

Dense.

That is the only way to describe the ones whom Jesus chose.

It is evident in the different gospel accounts that the Master reached a frustration point with these guys more than once. This was not one of those times, however.

He knew He was at the end of His time with them, and that they had come as far as He was going to take them in His earthly ministry. His compassion for their thick-headedness was stirred as He promised to supply them with the help they would need.

Thank God we have been given the help we need.

I, too, am like one of those disciples. Oftentimes, I cannot tell what he saith.

I find myself in a certain situation, and I wonder, “What is this about?” I cannot tell what he saith.

I find myself reading a passage of the Bible, and I wonder, “What is this about?” I cannot tell what he saith.

I’m sure there are times when the Lord has reached a frustration point with me and said, “How long shall I be with you?” (Matt. 17:17)

Thankfully, His compassion is greater than His frustration; and I am once again shown how human I’ve been.

Yes, I can be quite dense at times. But the Comforter who has been sent, guides me (ever again) into the truth of who I am in Him. Then, I am able to see His great love and patience.

With what He does for me, why am I so slow to offer the same to others?

NOTE: There are others who have also written from John 17 this week. Drop by to hear “What the Spirit is saying to the church.” (Rev. 3:22)