Bible

The Real Time Apologetic of the Holy Spirit

psalm 119 105

Dear Christ Follower,

When would you like for the Holy Spirit to whisper these words to your heart, “Hey, that’s not who you are. ‘For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, Abba! Father! The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are the children of God'” (Romans 8:15,16)

A. When you hear yourself saying, “How could anyone ever love me?”

B. When you hear yourself saying, “Man, just who do you think you are to think you can tell me anything?”

C. When you hear yourself saying, “Just this one time, then never again. I mean it. Tomorrow, I’m done with this…I’m never gonna do it again.”

D. When you feel yourself slipping back into that defense mechanism you learned during your neglected childhood.

E. When you find yourself thinking, “Arrrgh, I just don’t get it. Why did I yell at her again?!”

F. When you keep asking yourself, “Why am I so stupid?”

G. When someone asks, “What is wrong with you, seriously, you can’t be that __________ (fill in the blank)?”

H. When you and another find yourselves shouting, “Oh yeah? Well, what about…?”

I. When you find yourself worried about how you’ll ever get out of the mess you feel you’re in.

J. All of the above and so many, many more.

Would you be surprised if I told you the Holy Spirit will often whisper, even shout, God’s written word to your heart of hearts? Would you be surprised if I told you it is in fact the Holy Spirit’s primary means for leading you? Would you be surprised to know you can expect this routinely? Hmmm?

Spend some time in John 14:1-27. Be amazed. Be blessed. Then, if you’d like, share your thoughts or questions. Let’s talk.

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Bible

Abide

abide in the lord preposition jpeg

At church we’re learning more and more how abiding in the word of God is closely tied to actually abiding in him. This reality literally fills the pages of the Bible. For example, most folks get John 15 in which we learn about abiding in Christ, however an equally large group of folks have missed the context of John 14 through which we learn much about abiding in the word. Go on ahead. Read it a bunch of times. Look at it carefully. Be amazed. Then, for a bonus, travel on over to the following link to get a glimpse of John 15 through the great service of Ligonier Ministries:

What Does It Mean To Abide In Christ

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Bible

1000 Times Better

11:30pm, November 10th.

I approach the end of my anniversary…my wedding anniversary…the 19th without my beloved. Like every day, I miss Vanita more than I’ve ever been able to adequately express. And, while I know this is often said by many, no part of my life on earth ever was or ever has been better without her. Don’t get me wrong, life is good and full, because God is good and all sufficient. The fulness of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knows no boundaries. However, it’s not life as it was intended. Death is an enemy. It was never suppose to happen. More still, death as the result of crime, of sin, of careless, wreckless, wayward action residing far outside the will of God is tragic. It hurts on every conceivable front. So, truly, with well thought out consideration of all the facts and without reservation, I can say had that awful event never happened life would be one thousand times better…one thousand times one thousand times…and not one part in a thousand was made better by the loss.

Be careful.

Watch your step.

Don’t drink and drive.

Don’t smoke dope and drive.

Don’t pop pills and drive.

Don’t snort, huff, shoot or whatever and drive.

Just don’t do it. Please. Please. Please.

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Adversity, Bible, Culture, identity

Judgmental Antipathy or Infatuated Affinity…there both hurtful…

Friendship Quadrant w blck brdr

Ever notice how a lack of true knowledge and understanding can create problems? If you don’t much like someone — if you have a natural antipathy toward him or her — and you don’t have much biblical wisdom you run the very real risk of being judgmental regarding him or her. If you like a person — if you have a natural affinity toward him or her — and you don’t have much biblical wisdom you run the very real risk of being infatuated with him or her. Judgmentalism causes us to be offended by the person we don’t much like, while infatuation causes us to take up the offense of the person we like. In both cases we are wrong and starting down a path leading to hurt…the inevitable and logical conclusion to Spiritual Identity Disorder.

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Adversity, Bible, Culture, identity

Missing the Mark

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Sin sometimes gets a bad rap. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not my intention to water it down. Sin hurts. It’s just that we actually minimize sin’s assault on humanity when we limit it to all those ugly things we do against God and one another. Of course, unfortunately, it’s often exactly this kind of  action and attitude that defines sin. It can entail seriously egregious stuff. However, not always. The whole story is a little more intricate. In fact, the most basic idea about sin in the Bible is “missing the mark” with God. For some that meant wholesale crime, iniquity, and transgression. The Bible doesn’t pull its punches regarding this kind of sin. For example, David’s sins against Bathsheba and her husband and the later sins of David’s children are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to biblical history regarding egregious sin.  For others, the story is not quite the same. For example, there was a lady who suffered with a physical calamity for years and years. She looked everywhere for a solution. Finally, she saw him…the Messiah…Jesus. She reached out to touch the hem of his robe… “for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well'” (Matthew 9:21,22). She wandered far and wide missing–always missing–the mark. Then, at last, she met him…and she was healed. Sometimes we forget, that while it can be far more complex, the simple meaning of sin in the Bible is missing the mark with God. This is good news, because whether one’s sin is off the chart ugly and abusive or as simple as someone believing he or she is not lovable to anyone, Jesus came to ransom us from our slavery to such things.

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Adversity, Bible, identity

Identity

As a pastor, I have seen one particular problem create for folks more negative issues than I care to remember. I call it SID…Spiritual Identity Disorder. If one doesn’t know her true identity then her purpose, security, and significance will always be dependent on who likes or doesn’t like her, how well she achieves or doesn’t achieve, and how well she feels about her appearance. The problem with all of these is the fickle essence of their nature. She will always be subject to their fluctuations. There is only one constant…God. The purpose we find in him will never change. The identity we receive as his child will never change. The security and significance given to us through his amazing love and grace will never change. This is why the Apostle Paul exclaimed, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

The song in this link to YouTube is by Lauren Daigle. It’s title is “You Say.” It’s spot on regarding spiritual identity disorder. I pray the Lord uses it to move you closer to him.

At your service, Ricki.

https://youtu.be/N8WK9HmF53w


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Bible

The Fall of Chicago

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Depending on sources Chicago has had around 50 wounded by gun fire over this past weekend…with several having lost their lives. The violence we are seeing across the world and here at home is evil. It needs a spiritual solution so not only lives but societies can be transformed. Evil and the death that follows do not need guns to kill. They will always find a way. However, a hundred thousand peaceful prayer partners, ignoring Rahm Emmanuel and the chestless politicoes of both the left and right, flooding and filling the streets of Chicago, as they fuel a Martin Luther King Jr style siege of peace, may very well turn the tide. America needs a new revolution, not reformation. It needs a revolution of true Christ-like love. Love that stands in the face of hostility…arms open and receiving…sacrificial love…the kind that spends itself rather than the obstacle ahead…love that says, “Come what may, help or harm, peace or pain, life or death, here we stand we can do no other. If you need to hurt others hurt us and as we fall hear our plea…’Seek the Savior, he is your last best hope.'”

God forgive us. God help us.

 

 

 

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