Love Which Passes Knowledge

to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Eph. 3:19

May you experience the love of Christ, even though it is so great you will never fully understand it.

Bring Them Up in the Training and Admonition of the Lord

eph 6 4

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” – Eph. 6:4

“Bring them up” = ektréphōfeed.

“Training” = paideía – instruction to reach maturity.

“Admonition” = nouthesía – setting the mind through God-inspired warning.

So let me sum this up:

Fathers, feed your children instruction that will mature and set their minds to God’s mind, through faith, to reach God’s solutions.


Ref:

https://biblehub.com/greek/3559.htm

https://biblehub.com/greek/3809.htm

Grow Up!

Eph 4 14-15

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” – Eph. 4: 14-15

Two things here:

  1. Grow up.
  2. Speak the truth in love.

Point 1: Children are naïve because they don’t know any better. They can be fooled so easily. Pulling a rabbit from a hat is total wonder to them. That is cute for a child, but for a Christian to be this naïve is disaster. Paul prays that we are not fooled so easily. Now this is not an age thing; all youngsters are not necessarily immature and all oldsters are not necessarily mature. Anyone just warming a pew for 30 years can be every bit a baby Christian as a completely new convert.

Believers of both groups, grow up! Living things grow! If you have a plant that is not growing, what is it? Dead! And that growth is maturity into Our Lord Jesus Christ who is , of course, the head.

Point 2: We are to speak. That is, we are not to be silent. Its so easy to just back off, “be nice,” and not say the thing that needs to be said for fear of offending someone. This is not a problem Jesus had (check Matthew 23 for a royal riot act).

That is where love comes in. When we speak; it is with truth in love. Only words containing both have real impact. Just all truth is mean. Just all love is meaningless. Truth in love is just what the Doctor ordered.

The Rich Young Ruler

rich young ruler

If someone asked you how to get to Heaven, you’d probably say “by grace through faith in Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9),” right? So why did Jesus give the Law to the rich young ruler when he asked the same question (Mark 10:17-22)?

This passage used to scare me. Will I have to sell all my stuff and give it to the poor?

No, no – that’s not the point.

The point is Jesus was exposing where the young ruler put his faith and it was IN HIS ABILITY TO KEEP THE LAW. (The Law THEN was the 10 commandments, NOW is any human effort or religious tradition). He thought rule-keeping was his ticket. His faith was in himself.

I’m not rich, young, or a ruler – but I identify with this guy, don’t you? Self-righteous, works-based faith is a constant struggle. What would Jesus say to me? “Throw away your device and follow Me.” Abraham was asked to give up Isaac (Gen. 22). What would He say to you?

The Law cannot save (Gal. 4:21). It’s not faith-worthy. It’s a ministry of death bringing God’s wrath ( 2 Cor. 3:7 & Rom. 4:15). Likewise today, putting your faith in your works, only brings God’s wrath. The Law is there to reveal our sin and point us to Jesus (Rom. 6:14). Like a mirror: it reflects you (warts & all), but cannot clean you. No one uses the mirror to clean their face. The mirror just shows you how dirty you are (Rom. 3:20). The Law crushes self-reliance, it is not a reason for it.

Mark 10:21 is a tender moment: Jesus looks at the young ruler and loves him. He’s trying to take him from Sinai to Calvary. He does the same for us. He knows us the best and loves us the most. After all, we’re all little Prodigals and Pharisees.

The young ruler boasted in keeping “all” the Law, so Jesus showed how he had missed the FIRST ONE! (Exd. 20:3) He placed his possessions before God. Look, if you rely on human effort, there will always be cracks (Gal. 3:10). Like a chain holding you over a fire; remove just one link and it all falls apart (James 2:10). Anything you make into a Law and then use to condemn others – will be used to condemn you.

 “Everything that isn’t gospel is law. If its not rooted in the good news of the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is damnable, crushing, despair-breeding , Pharisee-producing law. We’ll get either shallow self-righteousness or blazing rebellion or both.” – Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, Give Them Grace

This passage doesn’t scare me anymore. I am not under the Law. It is obsolete (Heb. 8:13). I am under GRACE (Rom. 8:2). Relying on tradition & religious rituals makes Jesus of no effect (Mark 7:13). It blinds us with a veil that only Jesus can remove (2 Cor. 3:14-16). Jesus came to set us free from this nonsense (Gal. 5:1).

Luke’s account says when the young ruler left, Jesus was saddened (18:24).  Jesus didn’t force anything. It was his choice. Jesus loves us enough to let us reject Him. However, if we do, it grieves Him.

Please don’t make the same mistake as the rich young ruler. Put your faith totally in Jesus today.

 

Faith is easy to define: it is trust.

cs-lewis-quotes-inspirational-9

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis (“Is Theology Poetry?” The Weight of Glory.)

Even those who claim to have no “faith” put their faith in lots of things. Faith is easy to define: it is trust. Any married couple will tell you trust is the most important ingredient to a healthy marriage. Remove it, and you’ve removed the heart. As the bride of Christ, we trust in Him.

Faith is not something that can be “mustered up,” like courage. It is a gift from God and as such, can be either accepted or rejected (Eph. 2:8, 1 John 5:4). Faith is not payment for a job well done, but the reason to do the job in the first place (Romans 4:4). This gift allows me to properly see the world.

Faith does not depend on the person doing the trusting, but on the object of that trust. I can have great faith in Bigfoot, but my faith (great or little) doesn’t matter, what matters is what I’m trusting in. Jesus is the same whether you trust Him or not. Me trusting in Him doesn’t make Him stronger, it makes me stonger.

My object of trust is Jesus. What’s yours?

Living in a Musical

singing in the rain

Living in a Musical

It seems like the Apostle Paul wants us all to live in a musical.

See then that you walk circumspectly (NIV = carefully), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (NIV = debauchery); but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” – Eph. 5:15-21 (NKJV)

Verse 19: speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

Singing songs (making music in your hearts) to the Lord with an attitude of thanksgiving. Is this not the very definition of joy? JOY primarily manifests itself by – Singing and thanksgiving! Paul is not saying we are all in Grease or West Side Story; he is saying to submit to each other by helping, encouraging, & bearing one another’s burdens – all with an attitude of… JOY!

Our Heavenly Summer Vacation & Our Heavenly Weekend is coming!

Let me put it this way: do you remember the last day before summer vacation? Everyone is happier, lighter, and easier to get along with. Its as if everyone has a song in their hearts.  They can’t wait; tomorrow’s the beginning of summer!

Or at the workplace; everyone is way happier on Fridays than on Mondays. The weekend is coming!

As believers, we have summer vacation coming; Our Heavenly Summer Break! As followers of The Way, we have our weekend coming; Our Heavenly weekend! We should live like tomorrow is that day of anticipation; because it is! Troubles don’t seem so bad. Trials don’t seem so hard. Things that usually get on your nerves, all of sudden don’t. That’s the spirit!

And if you break out in song, you can always blame Paul.

Like Kids Playing in the Street

icy street 2

The road in front of our house was nothing but ice, so of course Charlotte wanted to go ice skating on it. We were crossing the street & she stopped to play around. I let her do that for a little while, but then I told her to come in. Like any other kid, I had to tell her multiple times before it got through that I was actually serious. Eventually, I had to go get her. For some reason this was all a great surprise to her & she appropriately made a big fuss.

Here’s what WAS going through my head:

  • She’s going to fall on that ice & get hurt.
  • She’s little, so any car coming might not see her.
  • Its icy, so any car coming may have a hard time stopping.
  • It’s cold out here & warm in the house.
  • I have hot chocolate inside ready for her.

Here’s what was NOT going through my head:

  • I don’t want her to have fun.

Someone who has not accepted Jesus, is like that kid playing in the street. There are cars coming. There is ice everywhere. The sun is going down & it is getting dark.

Love isn’t sitting complicit as they are play. Love is warning them to get out!

Of course, we can’t physically go get people out of the street like I did with Charlotte. We lovingly tell them the truth (Eph. 4:15). We tell them how warm the house is & what a wonderful feast there is inside (Isa. 25:6). We tell them how we also used to play in the street until our Father beckoned us safely away (Luke 15:32). We pray that message pierces their hearts as it did ours (Acts 2:37). But then, it is up to them to turn away from the street & to the Father (Deut. 30:19).

You know what? I did go over there & ice skate with Lovey. Sorta. I held her hands as she scooted across the ice. I walked along beside her & held her up. She slipped a few times, but I never let her fall. I just reassured her, “I got you. I got you. Don’t worry.”

Then after a bit, I carried her inside & we had hot chocolate. God will meet you where you are & if you let Him, He will walk along beside you & hold you up. When you slip, He will never let you fall.

He has you (Isa. 49:16). He has you (Heb. 13:5). Don’t worry (Phil. 4:6).

If this blessed you, please like & share!

Roller Coaster Faith

Eph. 4:14
Eph. 4:14

I’m a visual person. I have to see it. If I don’t write it down, it’s hard for me to grasp certain things. Spelling Bees? Nope, not for me. I stunk at them because I needed to actually write the word down in order to spell it.

I really get into the Old Testament. I find the accounts unendingly interesting. Since it covers so many years and a multitude of people,  I’m always searching for the best timelines to help me get a visual. I found one in particular that showed not only the Kings of Israel and Judah, but also the spiritual state during their reigns. I had never seen that before.

Take a closer look at it. The green line above the timeline is Israel’s spiritual state and the blue line below the timeline is Judah’s spiritual state. Notice anything?

Doesn’t it appear to go up and down and up and down? Also notice how the spiritual state slowly goes down. It immediately reminded me of a roller coaster ride.

A roller coaster is never steady. It jerks this way and that. It soars up and screeches down. It makes quick turns and throws you around. It makes a lot people sick quite frankly.

Is our faith like that of the Israelites? Is it constantly going up and down. Is it never constant and sure? Does it get “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14)?

We are hard on the Israelites, aren’t we? “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that. Or I would have done that differently.” But the truth is, we are all too similar. Our faith, just as theirs, wavers so easily. We need to take special caution to ask Jesus to fortify our hearts and minds. Only through His intercession, is anything accomplished.

Get off the roller coaster and onto the escalator! How’s that for a visual?

May God’s Love be with you