Homeward Bound

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I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:14–19, NIV 1984).

My Musings – It is easy to understand why Jesus would say He was not of this world.  He created it.  He left the glory of Heaven to dwell amongst His creation for a time, but it was not His Home.  We, on the other hand, have known nothing other than this world. On our own, there is no where else we can make our home.  Strangely enough, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we become aliens to the only home we have ever known. Now, home is where He is.  Where He is not, no longer is our home.

Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, so that where He is, there we may be also.  But as long as we draw breath, that place is not yet fully prepared for us.  Not ready for our homecoming.  In the meantime, He sends us out into the world, just like His Father sent Him.  Once His work was finished, He returned home.  Once our work is finished, whatever it is that He has specifically sent us to do for Him, we will be called home too.  So until that specific thing is done, we go about with the general commission He gave all His children.  To go out into the world and make disciples.

My Advice – Our task may be big or small.  But even if it is small, if done faithfully, it will be no less important to Him than the big task He might give others.  And it will receive the same commendation — “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV 1984).  Sometimes, even the smallest of tasks, if left undone, can have the largest of consequences.  It may seem like a small thing to you, but be faithful.

Keeper of the Spring

The late Peter Marshall, an eloquent speaker and for several years the chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of “The Keeper of the Spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water.

By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, making the view from restaurants picturesque beyond description.

Years passed. One evening, the town council met for its semi-annual meeting. As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid to the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn’t necessary any longer!” By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

For several weeks, nothing changed. By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon, someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A couple days later, that water was much darker. Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks and a foul odor was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring, and within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again.  — Charles R. Swindoll

Quiet Waters

Original post May 21, 2018. Worth pondering during these difficult times.

The Brew Is A Musing

Psalms 23:2,3He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. (NIV 1984)

My Musings – When we are at our wits end we do not always want to take time to rest. It is then that He takes hold of us and makes us rest. We scurry around frantically and He takes our hands to lead us. And suddenly we are rested and on the right path – rested.

My Advice – When rest comes unexpectedly in the midst of stress, and guidance in the midst of not knowing where to turn, consider it the hand of God.

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Consider Him

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He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” (Isaiah 53:2-3, NIV 1984).

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:2–3, NIV 1984).

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Consider Him.  The King of Kings with no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him or make us desire Him.  Despised and rejected. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  Grieving and sorrowing over our rejection. Enduring the most excruciating execution ever devised by mankind.  Cruel and unusual. Consider Him.  The author of our faith.  Enduring the opposition of those He was dying for, in order to perfect that faith.

Fix your eyes.  Not just on the suffering that He endured for us, but on the joy that would come from it.  The sacrifice approved by His Father via the resurrection.  Allowing Him to ascend to the Father and to sit down at His right hand.  Fix your eyes on that.  At His Father’s side, interceding for you and me.  “Father, I paid for that.  So that where I am, they may be also.”

Do not lose heart.  Do not grow weary.  We can bear our suffering here on earth, because it will never be as great as His.  See, He has set us an example.  Fix your eyes on Him.  Do not lose sight of Him.  His suffering was temporary.  In comparison, ours will be light and momentary.  Nothing like they would have ben if He had not suffered on our behalf.  So do not fix your eyes on the temporary suffering we see all around us.  Fix it on what is unseen and eternal.  For “we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV 1984).

My Advice – He endured “for the joy set before Him.”  We do not lose heart, “for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…consider Him...so that [we] will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Walk This Way

Original post May 20, 2019. One must constantly evaluate whether or not the “profession” of their life is consistent with the “procession” of their life.

The Brew Is A Musing

1 John 2:6Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Those who claim to know Jesus as Savior, but who continue to live a rebellious life are likely not saved at all.

My Advice – Continue to follow in His steps, giving evidence that your life is in Him.

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What’s This In Regard To?

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When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (John 16:8–11, NIV 1984).

My Musings – Guilt, is the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law. Convict has two possible meanings.  The first is to make the guilty party aware of their guilt.  This is one of the roles of the Holy Spirit and is the meaning in this particular text.  The second is to actually declare that party guilty of a criminal offense by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge.  This is the role of Jesus. Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV 1984). It is a matter of fact that the world is guilty.  There is no chance for repentance and exoneration if they are not aware of their guilt. The Holy Spirit gives the world this chance.  And there is no penalty until the unrepentant party is declared guilty by the Judge in authority over such matters.

There are three charges against the accused.

In regard to sin –  The only unforgivable sin is failure to “believe in “Christ.

In regard to righteousness – In “going to the Father,” after having paid for our sins on the cross, Jesus’ righteousness is validated as acceptable to the Father.  By rejecting Jesus, people are rejecting this righteousness that otherwise could be imputed to them by accepting Christ.

In regard to judgment – By not believing in Jesus, and by rejecting His righteousness, we swear allegiance to the Prince of this fallen world.  But because God approves of Christ’s sacrifice, the “prince of this world now stands condemned,” and the world of his followers along with him.

My Advice – Do not shut out the Holy Spirit.

Trustworthy Wounds

Original post May 19, 2019. If only all conversations followed these guidelines.

The Brew Is A Musing

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Proverbs 26:20-28, 27:6Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.  As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.  The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; They go down to a man’s inmost parts.  Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.  A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. Though his speech is charming, do not believe him, for seven abominations fill his heart. His malice may be concealed by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.  If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it; if a man rolls a stone, it will roll back on him.  A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.  Wounds from a friend…

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Connecting The Dots

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If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”  (John 15:18–20, NIV 1984).

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that.” (Luke 6:27–33, NIV 1984).

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:17–18 NIV 1984).

My Musings – Connect the dots.  We do not belong to the world, so the world will hates us.  The world hated Christ first, and as His followers, we can expect no less. Nevertheless, we are not to respond in kind.  We are not to strike back.  We are not to repay evil with evil. We are charged to repay the hate with love and goodness.  To do what is right in the eyes of everybody, even those who persecute us.  This may not stop the hate and mistreatment we receive for His name sake.  And yet, it may.  It may even win them over.  So, as far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with even those who consider us their enemy.

The World Hates Us•••As Far As It Depends On Us•••Do Good To Those That Hate Us

My Advice – “No servant is greater than his master.” Can we possibly think we have a greater reason to exact vengeance upon those who mistreat us?  How many can we expect to lead into the Kingdom that way?  As He was dying, being mocked and despised, Jesus uttered words of forgiveness — “Father forgive them.”  How are we doing?  We have been chosen out of the world.  Let’s not respond in a worldly manner.