Category Archives: Occasional Thoughts

Commensurate Praise

Ephesians 1:2-6,11

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Messiah.  Praised be ADONAI, Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven.  In the Messiah, He chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in His presence.  He determined in advance that through Jesus the Messiah we would be His sons – in keeping with His pleasure and purpose – so that we would bring him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace He gave us through the Beloved One…so that we who earlier had put our hope in the Messiah would bring Him praise commensurate with His glory.” 

 

What does it mean that we are to bring God “praise commensurate?”  The definition of commensurate is “equal in measure or extent.”  So the question becomes, equal to what?  In verse 6, our praise is to be equal in measure with the glory of the grace God has given us in Christ and in verse 11, with His glory.  In other words, our praise should be equal in extent to His works and His person. WOW!  Is that a tall order or what?  I immediately began to ask, “Who is capable of that?,” after all it seems just as hard as following His command to “Be holy, for I am holy.”

I think the key to giving praise commensurate is to find out what we have to praise Him for, and in Ephesians the Apostle Paul provides quite a list.  So here are a few that I found, but feel free to add your own.

  1. We – you and I- have been chosen as His sons!  Think about that for a minute.  The God who spoke our world into existence, the God of every miracle listed in the Bible, and every miracle that isn’t, this same GOD has chosen you!  And you’re not a servant or a slave, you have been chosen by Him as a son, a daughter simply for His pleasure.  You have been chosen as a joint heir of Christ!  Ephesians 1:4-5
  2. We are set free – our sins are forgiven!  I don’t care who you are, we all have sinned and fall short of His glory in and of ourselves.  That being said, because Jesus shed His blood, once we receive it, we are free from whatever has held us captive.  It’s not just our sins, either.  We are also set free from consequences of past failures and mistakes (see previous post A Horse Tale.)  How awesome is it that the God of the Universe would so lavish us with His grace, His enabling power to overcome!  Ephesians 1:7
  3. He has made known to us secrets!  I love a secret, and I especially love being able to ponder mysteries as revealed by the Holy Spirit.  This is an incredible thought, that God in all of His wisdom and insight trusts you and I with His secrets.  I find it difficult to trust some people with my plans, but God has entrusted us with His.  Ephesians 1:8-10
  4. You have an inheritance!  Not only have you been chosen His child, but He has provided for us, not only in the now, but has prepared for your future!  Remember the bumper sticker that stated, “I spent my kids inheritance.”  Well, God isn’t doing that to you.  It is set aside, and it has your name on it!  Ephesians 1:11
  5. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit!  What a reassuring thought that we are backed by the God of the Universe.  He hasn’t left this job to anyone else, He’s taken it upon Himself to guarantee your inheritance.  How amazing is that?  Ephesians 1:13-14

These are just the first few mentioned by Paul in the first chapter of Ephesians, but if we can get a hold of these five and begin to praise Him accordingly in conjunction with everything else He’s done, we will reach praise commensurate!  I challenge you this Christmas season to begin praising Him, and then to continue on throughout the year, allowing your praise to open up a new realm of worship unto you!

Sibling Squabbles

So, we’ve all had opportunity to be offended in life.  If you haven’t, please don’t wait, send a comment, we all want to know your secret!  Our Lord assured us that it wasn’t a matter of if offences would come, but rather when.

“It is impossible, but that offences will come…” Luke 17:1a

Now, you can look in many different translations, and find it the term offences  rendered as things that cause people to sin and in my Jewish Bible, it’s rendered a snare.  All for good reason, I believe.  Giving offence can be done quite on accident (I won’t venture to address the times when it is done on purpose), but how we react to it, that can be an issue of sin, and the offence itself can be a snare of the enemy to get you to respond in a less than godly manner.

So, how do we respond according to Kingdom principles?  Jesus laid it out very clearly in Matthew, chapter 18:15-17.

1)  Go to the person who has offended you privately, one on one.  My Bible stresses privately.  Public confrontation is never an appropriate initial reaction, in my opinion.   God’s primary goal is the reconciliation of man to Himself, but secondly between men and themselves and finally, men and each other.  That cannot happen if we are flying off the wall, constantly exhibiting an attitude of anger rather than an attitude of reconciliation.

2)  If he doesn’t receive you, then you are to approach him with one or two others so that “every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”  If you don’t have the supporting witnesses, it’s best not to confront to begin with.  In other words, if you are operating under a spirit of suspicion, and not factual knowledge, because you simple don’t like someone or because they rub you the wrong way, according to the Kingdom, you don’t have a leg to stand on.  You must have proof.

3)  If proof exists, and the brother/sister still refuses to repent and work towards making restitution then the congregation must be told.  This is where it gets difficult for us pastors.  We don’t necessarily like to make waves, but again, we must administrate according to Kingdom principles.  Quite frankly, ministers are fond of preaching the first two, but are quick to preach the gospel of grace when it comes to enacting the third.  However, let me admonish that if we take the definition of grace meaning, “enabling power,” then man, woman of God, you have God’s power to carry out step three!

The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 6,  that God’s people should be able to solve problems that arise between brothers and sisters in Christ among themselves.  In other words, there shouldn’t be unresolved issues in our midst that cause the world to look at what is transpiring in God’s Kingdom and shaking their heads.  Rather, they should be able to look at us as a template for the appropriate way of confronting issues head on and seeing them successfully dealt with.

3 Dangerous Words

We know it. We quote it to ourselves and we quote it to others.

Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has power over life and death; those who indulge it must eat its fruit.”

We are told to watch what we say and to be positive, and for the the most part the mature Christian can and will bring themselves into obedience in this area.  However, what about words being spoken to us?  What do we do when there is a constant stream of negative information being thrust our direction, and not just from one source?

There are three very dangerous words that every Christian must be on guard against.  What are they?

but what ifThat’s right-but, what, and if, and not always necessarily together! There’s nothing the enemy loves more than to cause you to second guess God, or to step out and do things in your own way, in your own timing and then wonder what happened when it all falls apart.

This is a hard thing to learn, especially if you’re a planner like me, but I’m learning that not everything can be administered (even if you have a God-given gift of administration).  Sometimes God just wants us to have faith.

Paul says concerning Abraham that,

“He did not by lack of trust decide against God’s promises.  On the contrary, by trust he was given power as he gave glory to God, for he was fully convinced that what God had promised he could also accomplish.”  Romans 4:20-21

When we question God, we are actually making a decision against God’s promises!  I don’t want to do that, do you?  I want to agree with God’s promises concerning my life.  It says that as Abraham gave God glory, he was given power, and as God is no respecter of persons, I have to believe that He also empowers us as we glorify Him.

So when three dangerous words are whispered or shouted in your ear, whatever the case may be, just begin to glorify the Lord.  Remember that He who promised is faithful!

Bony Hands & Feet

The boys and I have been studying the skeletal system for the past two weeks and we learned something that I found rather fascinating.  Frankly it’s all very interesting, but in light of our new FLIGHT School that Destiny Outreach began yesterday morning, which was extremely fun by the way, I thought it would be appropriate to share.

skeletal hand & footDid you know that the adult human body has 206 bones?  Really?  Ok, so did you also know that your hand has 27 bones and your foot has 26.  Between both sets of hands and feet, those four members alone have 106 of the 206 total in the body. Interesting, to see the importance that God placed upon those members, how many different parts it takes joined together to get something done.

The same is true in the Body of Christ.  As we embark upon the study of our spiritual gifts in FLIGHT (Family Learning Igniting God-given Hope & Talent) School on Sunday morning, we would do well to remember that just as miraculously each cell in the human body knows its place and its part, we too were created with individual gifts and talents with a God-given purpose and place prepared just for us.  Amazingly none of the human cells fight or argue over which one is going to become a brain cell or heart cell or bone cell, they just automatically know their place and report for duty.  That is how the Body of Christ should work together.  Who are you, what were you designed to do, child of God?

Romans 12:4-6a

“Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.  In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.”

What is it that you do well?  God has certainly gifted you to do something.  You have a destiny, and over the next several months, we will be discovering spiritual giftings and talents not just for adults, but also in children, so that you too can find your place in the Body of Christ.  We look forward to seeing all your bony hands and feet there!

 

 

A Horse Tale

Picture2We just returned from visiting some dear friends of ours who live in Arkansas and whom our older two sons, Ezekiel and Joshua had the opportunity to visit two springs ago.  While they were there, Joshua had an unfortunate experience with one of their horse’s named Star, who he had to dismount into the arms of our waiting friend.  Needless to say, when we arrived this time, there was speculation on everyone’s part as to whether or not Joshua would even ride a horse.  Unfortunately, his brothers had been mercilessly teasing him regarding this incident, creating an unnecessary fear in him and he did not want to go riding.  They were insisting that he was going to have to ride Star again, something that the adults had already agreed would not happen, even though what had happened previously was not Star’s fault.  It took everything in me to convince Josh that he didn’t have to ride Star even though his brothers said he did.  Why?  Simply put – I’m the parent and I say so!  I love him and would never put him in a position that would jeopardize his security emotional or otherwise.

That got me to thinking about sin.  How often do we go through life fearing the consequences of a sin we’ve committed or something that has happened to us through no fault of our own.  People, good, Christian people tell us we have to live with the consequences, but can I tell you that you have a loving, heavenly Father who not only has forgiven every sin, but that has the ability to set you free from the consequences of sin as well?  Now don’t misunderstand, there are consequences that can’t be escaped, but I’m talking about the emotional toll that enables you to rise above where you’ve been in, so that you can live a life of freedom and victory.  The freedom that enables you to get on another horse, just like Joshua did and enjoy the scenery of life.

Interesting thing, after riding Straight-Edge for a while, Joshua ended up leading Star around the property.  He didn’t get back on her, but he was learning not to be afraid of her.  Sometimes it’s not just about listening to well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sometimes we just need to listen to our wonderful Heavenly Father who says simply that it never has to be a part of our lives again, simply because He’s said so!  He loves you!  Who are you listening to?  Walk in freedom today, it’s yours for the asking!