“Steak” Your Life On It

Some people are all sizzle & no steak. Live a life of substance not sizzling slogans that go up in smoke. #quote See Matt 7:21

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Playing with Playboy

The world is mourning the death of Hugh Hefner, pervert publisher of Playboy magazine. When I think of all of the boys and men whose minds he poisoned I can only think of the words of JESUS:

“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”

Luke 17:1 (ESV)

#Playboy #HughHefner

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The Value of Verified Vision

The Value of Verified Vision

“Perception is reality”…”The truth today…” Those sayings are popular today. And both are lies from Hell. Because they both deny the reality of Ultimate Reality and Ultimate Truth. They put flawed personal opinion, experience and emotion in place of GOD.

JESUS, GOD the Son, says He IS Truth. He is the Light of the World. So when He says that Light is necessary to see clearly, He says we must live in His Light and the Reality of the Truth that He is the only way to real Life and LORD if all reality. Otherwise the misperception of calling darkness light and evil good will only lead us to disastrous delusions.

I have vision problems. I suspected this when I went for an eye exam. I was to look through a binocular like setup and say what number I saw. There were no numbers. I could swear (in fact, I did, out loud, to my shame) there WERE NO NUMBERS. But those giving me the exam said there were. And the glowing green dots were easily visible, apparently, to the friend who had taken me for the test as well. I just couldn’t see the truth. But was willing to stake my life (and others, by driving) that there were no numbers. To get the truth I had to have what was true verified by the vision of others.

JESUS says that our vision of life is damaged. The way to Truth and Life are written in His Blood on the Cross. But to see them we need new vision from a new heart surrendered to Him. We must have our worldview and opinions of truth verified by Him. We must admit that what we thought was light was darkness and our life is wasted on what is not of Him. We need His Word (the Bible) and His Holy Spirit (by accepting His sacrifice as full payment for our sins). Then we will recognize our dark life is in a grave and we can follow Him out into true Life and eternal Light in the resurrection only He gives.

“”The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Needing to Kneel

GOD says soon every creature from glorious angel to every human to the demons of hell will “take a knee.” Not to dishonor the flag that gave them the freedom to become whiney millionaires but to honor JESUS Christ, King of Kings and LORD of Lords. Do you know Him?

#Priorities #NFL #TakeAKnee

“For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:9-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Investing in Eternity

Investing in Eternity

“Having the receipts” is slang today for having proof. What proof is there that you have eternal Life?

It seems confusing when we hear JESUS say that our hearts will be where our treasure is. We know somehow that JESUS condemns the love of money even if we can’t quote the verse that says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And that confusion is what condemns us because we automatically connect treasure with money.

But the word for treasure used in Matthew 6 is the place you keep what’s most valuable to you. A vault, a jewelry box, a safe. For parents who love their babies, the vault holding their greatest treasure is a crib. To a husband or wife whose wife or husband is driving that vault is a car. And for those who love JESUS above anyone or anything on earth, that vault is Heaven.

But let’s be honest. We can pretend we do that but how is that even possible? How can we fully understand GOD enough to love Him more than we love our wife or husband or children? The Apostle John will later call us out on this and say we can’t. Not unless we have receipts.

When JESUS says to store up treasure in Heaven instead of on earth He is talking about the Divine Deposit system. JESUS, GOD the Son, invested everything in us. He put aside His divinity and became fully human while refusing to use His power as GOD. He gave His Life for us to pay for us on the Cross. And His rising from the grave on our behalf is the receipt that He completely paid off any failures on our part to be worthy of Heaven.

The result of our using the faith He gives us to believe that results in the Holy Spirit deposited on our hearts. GOD the Holy Spirit reveals JESUS to us. And that allows us to invest in other lives because of Him. He so overflows our hearts that we deposit love in other lives as a sign of His living in us.Every act of love motivated by JESUS is a receipt that JESUS is in us. It is a deposit in Heaven.

If you believe JESUS invested everything for you to have eternal Life by depositing His Blood on the Cross, His Body in the grave and having the receipt of the Resurrection as His ownership of you and your complete forgiveness, you are a Christian. The Holy Spirit is deposited in your heart to help you change to invest Christ’s love in other lives for His sake.

JESUS is calling you to check your accounts. Monitor your investments. Everything else of flesh and blood, paper, silver and gold will be gone. But all you do for others because of Christ’s great love for you is an investment in eternity.

“”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Lasting Fasting

Lasting Fasting

Most Martial Arts (Karate, Judo, etc.) seem the opposite of what they say. Although their name speaks of violence (Martial from Mars, the mythical war god) they avoid violence by redirecting the force of an attack to make the attacker powerless. A thrown punch by an attacker is pulled rather than blocked by the one being attacked. So the attacker’s own power is redirected against him and goes another way to make him powerless.

Fasting (not eating or doing something you otherwise would have eaten or done) is like that. You don’t just stop eating and starve yourself. You redirect the energy you would have given to eating another way to bless someone else.

As JESUS explains what following Him means on a mountaintop to those who want to know about Him, He mentions fasting. He says when you go without something, don’t make a big show of it. Make it a part of your normal lifestyle between you and GOD to redirect that energy for self to bless someone else.

JESUS says that if you go without eating and call attention to yourself for it you’re filling yourself up with attention. But if it’s a secret between you and GOD you redirect that energy spent on self to GOD and loving others in His Name.

Not eating? Spend that money you would have spent on a meal for a gift card to a food store for the homeless you pass. No homeless? Choose a charity or church. Need exercise? Help clean an elderly person’s home. Mow their lawn. Redirect the money, food, energy you would have spent on self to helping someone else through the power of the love of JESUS in you.

GOD is all powerful. But when Satan used what power GOD gave him to try to use death to stop JESUS, GOD the Son, GOD redirected Death into Life. JESUS used the very Cross meant to defeat Him as the means to defeat Death. He used His spilled Blood to wash those Who believe Him for it from sin. He used the Grave as His Doorway to open eternal Life to those who give up their lives to have the Life only He is and gives.

Fasting is meant to be a lasting lifestyle of Love. It redirects attention and blessings and resources from ourselves to the needy. Through the power of Love it is meant to show others the way to JESUS by not pointing to us but to Him. That love points from us into eternity.

“”And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:16-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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Waiting at the Bus Stop For Your Ship to Come In

When you get as old as I am, you’re supposed to have wisdom to pass on to younger folks. I don’t know if they’d listen or if they can.

But if I have any advice in life it would be the importance of two things:

Believe in the LORD JESUS Christ & be saved.

And the truth of the saying, “Time and tide wait for no one.”

We all hear it when we’re young. We think we have forever but that’s only possible when you know you’re Blood bought by GOD the Son Who wants you to have eternal Life.

So first make sure you have eternity. And then cherish every moment of Life. Even those times that seem like Hell on earth. Shut out the noise. Breathe in the Breath of GOD and live that moment.

Because it will be gone like the tide pulling the perfect shell away from your feet just as you reach for it. And it will never return. You may settle but you will always hear the wave and seek that shell but never find it. Keep living. Keep breathing. Keep moving.

Don’t be the person who spent their life at the bus stop waiting for their ship to come in.

Especially in love. Especially in love. Especially when every part of your body, mind and soul says you’re in love.

When you open your eyes in the morning knowing life is worth living because you’ll see that face again and that is your objective of the day. To breathe more deeply in their presence.

But the tide pulls out. Don’t let go. Learn to swim. Build a boat. Fall on your hands and knees and grab that shell.

Then move with the tide. Move with time. They’ll be gone and you’ll be tossed into eternity and the arms of JESUS. Smiling. Having fully loved. Having been fully loved. Having no regrets.

I stand at the bus stop waiting for my ship to come in. But my feet are still wet. Because she swam without me but I told her in that moment. She has my shell in her memory and I have her memory in my shell, still calling me to swim.

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That Thine Though

That Thine Though

I work in a library where we offer books for free to soldiers and family members before the books are recycled. Many of these books have been well loved and have notes eagerly scribbled in them during an “Ah ha!” moment where reader meets eyes with author, perhaps over centuries, to share an idea.

There are lines like that in the Bible. Bible texts are more reliable than any other text in ancient Greek or Hebrew. But some few passages are difficult to distinguish between what was inspired by GOD in the original and what was added in a moment of inspiration by a reader, manuscript copiest or translator. Matthew 16:13 is like that.

We know JESUS prayed in His model prayer teaching others how to pray that we should pray to be kept from evil and the evil one. But the sudden jump in the next phrase, “For Yours (“Thine” in the King James) is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory, Forever, Amen” is unclear.

That phrase was ignored by early Christian commentators. It doesn’t exist in many early copies.

So did JESUS actually say this phrase? If He did not speak this exact phrase at that moment, JESUS and all of Scripture said the same point throughout the Bible.

It’s obvious from the very first chapter of the Bible that GOD created everything that is or ever was. So it is obvious that He (GOD the Father, to Whom JESUS, GOD the Son, addresses His prayer) owns all power and glory forever. JESUS says that he and the Father are mystically One. He is described as the Means not only of Creation but of holding all things together. The Bible says that only GOD lives forever and that He has been from forever and that there will be no end to His (Christ’s) Kingdom.

Over and over Scripture affirms and JESUS made the point that GOD has all Glory and all Power forever and ever. And the fervent assent of “Amen!” (As it should be!) is simply the speaker’s signature of agreement.

Did JESUS say the phrase “For Yours is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, Forever, Amen!”? With every Word He spoke and every action He took. With every drop of Blood willingly given in obedience to GOD the Father and out of love for us on the Cross. With His steps out of death and into Resurrection. And with His movement in Spirit in every soul that trusts Him for eternal life because He rescued them.

“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever! Amen!” Matthew 6:13 (KJV)

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Testing! Testing!

Testing, Testing

My father was a genius who never graduated High School but taught himself to repair anything electronic. Whenever he tested microphones or recording equipment he’d shout into the microphone “Testing! One, Two, Three, Four!” to see if it worked as designed.

The Bible says a lot about testing. And there are several varieties. But we will only look at one today. That one in The LORD’s Prayer/The Our Father, the model JESUS uses to teach us to pray, is the most important…and most terrifying. It is terrifying because it suggests that even GOD is about to give up on us. JESUS says that we should pray for GOD to never give us over to the devil to allow him to test us. This is the first type of testing, Temptation.

Temptation is the kind of testing JESUS went through for us when Satan tried to get Him to use His authority as GOD the Son for Himself. The moment JESUS did anything for Himself would have been the disqualifier of being our Savior/Rescuer. His death would not apply to us and there was no reason to die for Himself because He was sinless. The only way to keep you from Hell would have been gone.

JESUS says to pray we never come into temptation because it is a sign that we are trying to take His place as Rescuer and Judge. We are saying that we can make it without Him.

The interesting thing is that JESUS inserts this request not to be tempted in the middle of a request and explanation about forgiveness.

JESUS teaches us to pray for forgiveness for our “debts”, our “trespasses”, what we owe GOD and humanity as a child of GOD. There will always be a lack in our humanity between what we should be and know and do and who we are, know and do. JESUS Himself fills that gap by overcoming the devil and temptation. He fills the gap with His Blood from the Cross. He fills our heart with His Spirit…IF we are His. IF we have accepted what He has done as enough.

But then He suddenly veers off from this request about forgiveness. He says forgive us BECAUSE and TO THE DEGREE we have forgiven others then goes into not being TEMPTED by the Evil One. Then like a car careening from one side to the other He’s back on forgiving again.

Forgiveness of others is the key. When we realize JESUS has died to forgive us of everything that keeps us from GOD, we will forgive others. Our debts (what we owe GOD) is paid by JESUS. If we genuinely have been changed by His Spirit we will forgive what others “owe” us (in respect, in money, in love, in anything).

If we belong to Christ GOD forgives us what we owe Him because His Blood fills the gaps. But if we do not forgive others of what we perceive we “lack” from them it is a sign we are putting ourselves in the place of GOD.

This is why JESUS will later tell a story about a servant who owed millions to his boss for robbing him being forgiven but then demanding a debt of $100 from someone else. Not realizing the enormity of the Grace given to him by giving Grace to others condemned him.

When we do not show the natural by-product, the “fruit” of the Spirit of Love given to those by GOD when they fully give themselves to Christ, we put ourselves in Christ’s place of Judge. GOD will allow the Enemy of our Souls, Satan, to tempt us to make ourselves (and ultimately self-centered Satan) king instead of Christ.

Christians face temptation in and from the world. But the Spirit of Christ in them is stronger and will resist, like the air in a basketball keeping it inflated in spite of the pressures around it.

If we begin to “deflate” it is a sign we may not have Christ’s Spirit in us. We haven’t trusted Christ to be our Payment so forgive others for what they “owe.” And He will allow the devil to pressure us until and unless we come to JESUS for filling. Like the electronics my father tested, GOD is calling, “Testing! Testing!” to see if we are functioning as we should.

People sometimes think there is good on one side and evil on the other. But that is not true. GOD repeatedly says throughout the Bible that He is in control of evil as well as good. He uses evil to tempt those who do not live like their lives are paid for by the Savior, GOD the Son, JESUS, Who overcame evil. And JESUS teaches us to pray that our lives are never so lacking in grace and love to others that He uses the Evil One to tempt us because we don’t seem like Christ’s sheep but Satan’s goats.

Matthew 6:12-15, ESV

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:12-15‬, ESV

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Eating Eternity

Eating Eternity

Being Italian, bread has always been important to me. Especially those big, crusty loaves with the rounded ends that reminded me as a boy of my grandmother’s elbows. Hot, chewy bread flowing with olive oil, garlic and cheese or simply slathered with sweet, creamy butter. Filling and satisfying to a poor family with not much else to eat. We didn’t know if we’d have it tomorrow. We couldn’t buy it as easily as folks do today. But we were filled for the day.

JESUS, GOD the Son, asks GOD the Father for daily bread as He teaches people trying to learn from Him how to pray as they sit on a mountainside. And that daily part is important, just as bread was always important and would always be important to GOD’s people.

Bread was part of sacrifices GOD instructed to be given from earliest times. Wheat from which bread was made symbolized the people of GOD while barley symbolized the rest of the world and loaves of both kinds were made for sacrifice to GOD.

Bread, matzoh, was a key element of the Passover celebration marking the people of GOD being freed so quickly that bread was not to have leaven so it wouldn’t be required to rise.

Daily bread isn’t something JESUS made up in the Sermon on the Mount but a reminder of Scripture that asked GOD to give just enough for that day to avoid trying to live without GOD with too much or succumbing to stealing out of hunger from too little. Just the kind of temptation JESUS would mention in the next line of His model prayer.

But greatest of all is the symbolism JESUS used as His Body being the Bread of Life which would be given for those who believe in Him for eternal Life, broken on the Cross. JESUS says He is the Bread of Life.

JESUS is our daily bread of satisfaction. He fills us and satisfies us, sustains us day by day. But how can that be when we long for a life others have but we seem to be denied? We aren’t satisfied if we’re still longing for more. But that’s the point. Our satisfaction is knowing JESUS is our daily satisfaction. Like the Manna in the wilderness and like the prayer not to have too much, JESUS calls us to be satisfied with what He has given us for eternity today. And He will sustain us through the impossible longing tomorrow into fulfillment in eternity.

JESUS gave Himself to give us eternity but we can’t even understand what that is. We must be satisfied with today. And that fulfillment can only come in mouthfuls of the day to day.

When JESUS resisted Satan’s temptation to turn stones to bread to satisfy His hunger, He said “Man does not live on bread alone but by every Word that comes from the Mouth of GOD.”

JESUS is the Bread of Life. He sustains us and satisfies us. He is also the Word of GOD in Flesh. That Word is our seeing in the Bible how He loves us and gives us eternal life if we believe Him for it as He demonstrated in His Life, death and resurrection for us. But we can only eat eternity one mouthful at a time.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11, ESV

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