Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Praying And Forgiving Like God
        Things happen in our world and forgiveness seems impossible.  We have very strong feelings (James 4:1-6) yet God will help us to repent and forgive if we will ask Him.  Jesus on the Cross could say: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  They thought they were doing the right thing by crucifying Jesus the Son of God. 
        God Himself is the greatest example of forgiveness.  “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”  Hebrews 8:12.
                “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”  2 Cor 5:18-19 (NKJV)  [Trust & Obey]
        1. Neither do we understand life.
        "Holy Father, there is so much that I do not understand.  Death has come into the family, hard times, financial difficulties, or things that I thought were punishments sent by You.  People said, "It's God's will," and I became bitter and resentful toward You.  [compare Luke 13:1-6.]  Purify my heart and mind today.  Help me to look always to You and Your Glory and Your amazing Love."
        Jesus said: “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Mat. 6:14-15.
        "Lord Jesus Christ, I ask today to forgive everyone in my life.  I know that You will give me the strength to forgive.  I thank You that You love me more than I love myself and want my happiness more than I desire it for myself."  [compare Psalm 130]
        I must first forgive myself.
        "Heavenly Father, I forgive myself for all my sins, faults and failings.  [compare Psalm 51 in this context.  “Wash me, cleanse me.”].  I forgive myself for unbelief in Your goodness, and for not truly believing in Your love for me.  I release stored up bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.  I forgive myself for not spending enough time in prayer, for allowing myself to be distracted from praise and worship to You.  I forgive myself for any sins against purity, for compulsive behavior, for hurting my parents or friends, for wounding people with words and behavior.  Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the grace to forgive myself and the power to change."
        As we forgive our debtors.
        "Heavenly Father, I forgive my mother for any negativity and unlove she may have extended to me throughout my life.  I forgive her for any times she may have hurt me, resented me, been unreasonably angry with me, or punished me unfairly."
        "Heavenly Father, I forgive my father for any negativity and unlove he may have extended to me throughout my life.  I forgive him for any nonsupport, lack of love, affection or attention." 
        "Lord, I extend forgiveness to my sisters and brothers, my spouse, my children, my mother-in-law, father-in-law, son/daughter in law, and other relatives by marriage, who may have treated my family with a lack of love.  For all their words, thoughts, actions or omissions which injure and cause pain, I forgive them."
        Forgetting the past.
        “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 3:13-14
        "Heavenly Father, I forgive those who have hurt me the most, those who are the hardest to forgive.  I now choose to forgive, even though I may still feel angry and hurt.  I also make peace with the one family member, the one friend, the one church leader who has hurt me most in life." 
        "Lord, I beg pardon of all these people for the hurt I have inflicted on them, especially my mother and father, and my marriage partner.  I am especially sorry for the three greatest hurts I have inflicted on each one."
        "Thank You, Jesus, that I am being freed from the evil of unforgiveness.  I praise You and Thank You for granting me repentance and forgiveness and setting me free.  I want to offer my life to You as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing.  In Jesus' name, Amen."
        “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”  2 Cor 3:17-18 (NLT)
        "Holy Spirit, pour the love of God into my heart [Romans 5:5].  Fill me with Christian love, holy joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit [1 Thess. 1:5-6; Gal 5:22-25].  Mold me and make me after Your will.  [2 Corinthians 3:17-18]  I claim the Victory, in Jesus' Name.  Amen."


R. D. Ice

Levi the Pharisee hurried to the gate 1
to speak to the others about
the crisis presented by this Jesus
“The Son of Man,” as he calls himself.

Jesus is young, not yet fifty years old. 2
But he claims to have seen
Abraham, of all people.
"Abraham rejoiced to see my day."

And Jesus shows no respect to God. 3
I heard him say, “Abba, Father.”
Doesn’t every child say “Abba, Daddy.”
Who does this Jesus think he is?
God in human form?

We cannot have young people -
this upstart Jesus - destroying
our cherished Tradition, our
depository of knowledge, our
faith in God Above.

This Jesus just doesn’t understand  4
the way we do things,
our cherished traditions,
the holy forms we have developed
over these many years.

“Watch out!” Gamaliel said. 5
“You might be fighting against God.”
“If Jesus isn’t who He claims to be,
nothing will come of it.  But
if He is the Son of God, you cannot
overthrow Him.”

After all is said and done, Jesus
was right, and Levi was wrong. 
Neither youth nor age
was the crux of the matter.
Being right with God was.

Jesus came with power and authority.
Blind eyes were healed.  Deaf ears
were opened.  Crippled legs were
made strong.  Even the dead
were raised to life in a powerful way.

Levi should have known.  God
had been speaking through
the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms,
giving clues and identifiers
to clearly show the Messiah
when He came.  6

"God shall raise up a Prophet," 7
Moses said, "like unto me."
"Him shall you hear!"
But Levi did not hear.

"You search the Scriptures," Jesus said. 8
"You seek eternal life."
"But these very Scriptures testify
of Me, the Son of God."

Levi's mind was firmly made up.
He did not know that he was following
what seemed to be fact, yet was not.
Like a horse wearing blinders,
his vision was restricted and clouded.

"When anyone turns to Jesus," Paul said, 9
"the blinders are taken away."
"The natural man needs God's help."
"The Spirit illuminates our understanding."

"It shall come to pass," Joel wrote, 10
"God shall pour out His Spirit."
"Whosoever calls upon the Name
of the Lord shall be saved!"

Jesus is still the Revolutionary.
New generations discover Him,
and old generations may fail
to recognize that they have not
been following His Way fully.

But to all who believe in Him 11
Jesus gives the authority and
privilege of becoming and continuing
to be God's children and friends.

                1  John 11:45-53
                2  John 8:56-59
                3  Mark 14:36; John 6:46
                4  Matt. 15:3-9; 23:23-26
                5  Acts 5:33-39
                6  Luke 24:44-49
                7  Acts 3:22--26
                8  John 5:39-40
                9  2 Cor. 3:14-17; 1 Cor. 2:12-16
                10 Acts 2:16-21; 11:15-18
                11 John 1:12-13; Matt. 8:11

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Father, Son, Holy Spirit!
    In October 2015 “The Search For The Lord’s Way” had four lessons on “One God: Three Persons.”  Campbell said it this way: Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, Jehovah the Holy Spirit.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the great I AM.  Solomon said the ways of God are past finding out.  Yet God speaks to us in ways we can understand.
    “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”  2 Cor 13:14
    “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”  Jude 1:20-21
    “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, "You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased." Luke 3:21-22
    We show forth the Lord’s death & resurrection.
    By the water of His baptism and the blood of His death (1 John 5:6-8; Heb. 9:11-15) JESUS became the Savior of every human being who would “trust & obey.”
    The goal is not to abandon the world, but to keep ourselves IN CHRIST and salvage as much as possible from this evil world.  Christians do renounce the falseness of the world, but do not reject the Creation itself.  [note Romans 8:19-23.]
    We confess, in accordance with Holy Scripture and with the Holy Spirit’s help, that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of the world.  In Him, we see not only the fullness and the glory of God, but also the model and power for our own freedom from the bondage of sin and death.
   “Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.”  Heb 2:14-15 (MSG)
    Christianity is centered in Jesus
    In the midst of many competing voices, the Church seeks to hear, trust, and obey Jesus the Lord and his commandments (1 Cor. 8:5-6).  True authority in the Church derives from and furthers obedience to this Lord.  True authority in the Church holds the community accountable to this Lord, especially when teachings and practices arise that undermine or deny His Lordship.
    Paul was willing to step back and put Christ first!
    “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”  Acts 26:18
    Jesus had to share completely our human nature and human experience.  Even though Jesus in the flesh was a man (a male), He was able to be the Savior of both men & women.  In contrast to angels, He was made like the seed of Abraham - likeness of sinful flesh (Rom. 8:3) - and He was tempted in every way that both men & women are tempted.  See Heb. 4:15; Isaiah 53:3-5.  His atoning sacrifice was for both men & women.   “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3:28
    Jesus said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”   John 12:32-33
    Jesus promised Another Helper.
    "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"  Luke 11:9-13

    “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter (Helper) will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”   John 16:7-8 
    “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8 


    “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12:9-11 (NKJV)
    “Tough Love  Another version of "being cruel to be kind". To show somebody some tough love today will save them heartache in the future but may cause a small amount of upset for the receiver immediately after the "Tough Love" has been dispensed. They would suffer more if you let them get on with their life with no interference from third parties.”  Urban Dictionary
    “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."  So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.” Gen 11:7-8 (NKJV)
    God created mankind in His own image and He wishes for our success.  God’s purpose was for humanity to spread over the Earth.  The Tower was being built in opposition to God.  God created panic by confusing language and probably different physical characteristics (skin color, etc.).  “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” 
    “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,  so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;”  Acts 17:26-27 (NKJV)
    Goodness and severity.
    “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.  Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”  Romans 11:21-23 (NKJV)
    And, it is important to remember that our unchanging God is the same God who banished our first parents from paradise due to disobedience, flooded the world due to sin, and sent His only begotten Son to earth to suffer and die to reconcile us with Him. God remains the same today as He was yesterday.
    Chastisement - discipline.
    “So don't feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?  My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either.  It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.  God is educating you; that's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. This trouble you're in isn't punishment; it's training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God?  We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God's training so we can truly live?  While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God's holy best.  At the time, discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
Heb 12:5-11 (MSG)
    Life is on-the-job-training for Eternity.
    “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.   The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.   By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see.”
Heb 11:1-3 (MSG)
    “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life--  the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us--  that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.”  1 John 1:1-4 (NKJV)

    “Living in the light means that the believers will see that they are sinners, but they will also realize that Jesus is their Advocate to make them right with God” —NLT Study Bible