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Faith Glory Holy Spirit Kingdom of God Lessons Prayer Spiritual Warfare

Running My Race

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Running my race. Sometimes I do well; too often I do not.

I have recently, again and again, fallen short of the Glory of God.

I am a sinner.

I have hurt others, and I have been hurt by Christians I look up to and admire. And I have used that as an excuse to sin even more.

How did all this happen, I wonder. Maybe you wonder, too. Well, it was all too easy.

A lot of it happened through social media. Through the news. And most terribly – in my own heart.

Friends I admire and look up to would send me jokes about democrats, and I would laugh – some of them were really funny. And some of these were not just funny, some were also quite nasty.

Other friends would send me descriptions of religious republicans and the twisted things some of them are encouraging, and I would agree.

Friends from different parties would send me news articles. Too often full of truths that make my heart recoil. And too often — one sided or twisted versions of events. And I would agree for a while, before I saw more broadly and inclusively.

Friends with high ideals and good reasons sending me twisted, one sided, soul shrinking propaganda. And I would read and agree for a while. Until….

Everybody has good reasons. Too often amplified beyond reason – the kind of thing that gives opportunity to unclean spirits. Too often twisted, to make a point. Too often so one-sided as to be sinful in themselves, yet very convincing.

And here I am, a well meaning feckless chameleon; first agreeing with this and seeing it clearly. Then agreeing with that, and seeing that clearly. Boy, talk about being double-minded. I’m an expert. A friend tells me the Greek literally means two-minded, a person with two minds – actually two souls.

I have lost all sense of proportion and of the larger picture: I am bound by love, previous repentance, and duty to a King and Kingdom that is at hand: Immanuel and his Kingdom. How often do I forget the Good News of the Kingdom? Too often.

I get caught up being for this or for that; or against this and against that. As though these were my first allegiance. I forget Whose I am.

I have sinned. Repeatedly. Forgetting Whose I am, forgetting the Kingdom and Immanuel. My first allegiance. I am ashamed.

So I again repent and ask for more of Holy Spirit. For help to live not for what I eat or drink but for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting the Kingdom first.

Lord, help me be a beneficial influence in the culture that surrounds me, influence, share and spread the Kingdom of God. And to do this first, before and more strongly and with more skill, love and determination – than any good thing I do in well intentioned and wordly politics. Help me follow Holy Spirit so well and so much that I am full of Fruit of the Spirit. Love, self-control, kindness, patience…and control my tongue.

The Untamable Tongue

My brethren, (A)let not many of you become teachers, (B)knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For (C)we all stumble in many things. (D)If anyone does not stumble in word, (E)he is a[a]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [b]Indeed, (F)we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.Even so (G)the tongue is a little member and (H)boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And (I)the tongue is a fire, a world of [c]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it (J)defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [d]nature; and it is set on fire by [e]hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, (K)full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made (L)in the [f]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a (M)fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [g]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Heavenly Verses Demonic Wisdom

13 (N)Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have (O)bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, (P)do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 (Q)This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For (R)where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But (S)the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, (T)without partiality (U)and without hypocrisy. 18 (V)Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+3&version=NRSV
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Discipleship Faith Friendship Getting Help Pain Purpose

Improve & Transform Terrible Memories

Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist - in pictures
Father and son observing Comet Pan-Starrs in Massachusetts

There is a straightforward way to transform terrible memories, which I just recently discovered and noticed through a Facebook friend, Henry Kanu, who lives in Sierra Leone.

This works so well for me because I already have experience with and belief in a particular promise of God: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good”, Romans 8:28a., ESV.

Henry Kanu and I were discussing and exploring this promise, when Holy Spirit prompted me to test this out and prove it to myself – even further.

So I thought of two memories that I considered terrible memories of things I had experienced. (My wife’s unexpected death and a painful childhood time.) Then I applied God’s promise to those two memories.

Remarkably, they no longer seemed like terrible memories; there were just precursors – things that happened first, before God tuned those experiences into good things – which I can now easily notice and appreciate. I am grateful for what has happened.

Applying God’s promise literally transformed the memories from being of things I felt were bad – into memories of how God made good out of those things. I literally remember and experience the blessings that God gave as a result of these experiences.

They no longer were terrible memories for me.

If you have enough experience &/or enough trust in this promise from Romans 8:28a, I believe this transformation can easily happen for you, too.

And if you need more experience with this promise, I recommend you do two things. First, meditate on God’s promise. Second, remember some specific things that are terrible memories, and notice how God turned these experiences into something good for you.

After doing this for a while, see how the promise may help you transform a memory of something that felt bad, and that you thought of as a terrible memory.

I believe you will notice as I have, a memory of something you thought of as being bad and that felt bad – can be transformed by applying God’s promise of Romanss 8:28a.

Oh – and it’s an excellent idea to give thanks for the improvement and transformation to Jesus. And to praise him for this. Which will have the side effect of nailing down the transformative experience of a bad memory into being the start of something good that God has done for you.

Thank you, Henry Kanu. And most of all, thank you, Jesus Christ!

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Faith Key Article Prayer

Father whispered to me….

Al Mack wrote, on Facebook:

Point One: God has proven himself to be a skilled planner. If you look at the remarkable number (hundreds!) of advance plans (sometimes called prophecies) that he prepared in advance of his Messiah’s appearance on earth, details as far back as Genesis 3, you realize that God has some mad skills at planning ahead.

Point Two: God is good. That’s not negotiable. God is always (always!) in favor of his kids, always working for our good.

Point Three: In Exodus, God is pretty badass. His plagues confront the Egyptian “gods” and show them to be powerless. Then he leads a couple of million people out of slavery right on the schedule he had announced several centuries earlier.

And here’s where my ears seriously perk up.

God, the omniscient, omnipotent super-planner leads his people into the desert, famous for having neither food nor water. And what a surprise, the people have no water, no food.

So they complained. Like people do.

They wanted food (Exodus 16). So he fed them meat (quail: good eating!) in the evening, and bread (manna) the next morning (v12).

Then they complained about not having water (Exodus 17), and in the midst of their whining, they asked for water (v2). And God gave them water. He used a pretty epic miracle (v6) to do it, too.

And in these ways he provided for his children for forty years in the desert. (Hint: read Exodus again. What epic stories!)

We’ve all heard sermons about their complaining, and how that irritated God and really frustrated their leader, Moses. Reasonable lessons to draw from these stories.

I was talking to God the other day as we were going through Exodus. “You’re so good at planning. Why did you lead them into the desert without food or water?”

And suddenly, my mind was taken back to The Magician’s Nephew, CS Lewis’s book about the beginning of Narnia. Polly and Digory were on a mission for Aslan, the Christ figure, and they were hungry:

“Well, I do think someone might have arranged about our meals,” said Digory.“

I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.

“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.

“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse. “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”

And Father whispered to me, “I wanted them to ask me, so I could answer them.”

I realized that God was training them how to come to him to meet their needs: his goal is relationship, a relationship of trust.

Someone smart once said, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” God works on our behalf to teach us that faith, how to relate to him in faith.

He’s good that way.