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The Path of Knowledge ~ a Morning Rant.

The path

The path of knowledge.

Do you know this path? Have you walked this path of knowledge – of knowing.

The path of knowledge is not a bad path.

But is it the straight and narrow path the Lord has set before us?

Jesus said,

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – John 14:6

When Jesus says “follow me” and “I am the truth” does it militate for a ‘knowledge above all’ mentality?

What if you walk the path of knowledge all your days—does it bring you to the pearly gates?

Perhaps

It probably will get you to the gate—but according to Jesus, many will make it to the gate, and never get in.

You can be on the right path—going the right way—believing all the right stuff—with an impeccable doctrinal pedigree—and never cross the threshold of the kingdom of God.

When I was a young child I was taught that Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. These words accompanied every evangelism method I ever learned in some form or another.

And yet, most of my life I sought after knowledge, rather than intimacy. My need to be right—correct—trumped my commitment to relationship over and over again. More than once, I walked out of relationship—out of community—because I valued doctrine above relationship.

We protestants are really good at this.

We leave fellowship, even split congregations over doctrinal disagreement.

Here are just a few of the disagreements that split churches:

End-times Theology

Creation Theology

Spiritual Gifts and their relevance today

Mode of baptism

Worship style

You get the idea. We put our opinions—thoughts—ideas—above our love.

We crucify relationship to protect the truth.

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:2 NASB

One thing that makes this so hard it that Jesus self identifies as the Truth. He is the Word. He is the embodiment of everything that can be known.

And yet God, in His infinite wisdom, puts Truth in flesh so we can see Him, hear Him, touch Him, grasp Him. Then God, in His infinite love, crucifies the Truth, nails Him to the cross. And why?

Our Father crucified the Truth to restore relationship.

Paul puts it this way:

…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. – Colossians 2:14 NKJV

He took His own Word – the Law and nailed it to the cross.

And why?

To take the law out of the way.

The law—and this path of knowledge—the way of being right—is a road block to our relationship with God. It had to be taken out of the way so that love could flourish.

Is knowing important? Yes—but not as important as loving.

Ben NelsonHave a wonderful day!

Walk in the light.

BenEncouter cover samples covers only

Reminder—If you are willing to write a blog post or review for my new book “Encounters With Jesus,” email me and I’ll send you a free PDF of the pre-release manuscript.

Send your email to ben@AnotherRedLetterDay.com

Thanks!

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Got Trouble?

Did you realize that Jesus had already conquered the world before He went to the cross?

I have conquered the world!” John 16:33

When He came riding in to Jerusalem on a donkey, it was not a demonstration of what would be. It was a declaration of a current reality.

He headed to the cross to conquer death, and bring back the keys of the grave, but the world was a defeated foe.

How so?

Well – it’s couched in terms of trouble.

You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart…” John 16:33

What kind of trouble?

He demonstrated the defeat of disease, leprosy, blindness, even death when He healed the sick and raised the dead.

He demonstrated the defeat of the elements when He calmed the sea and walked on water.

He demonstrated the defeat of poverty and lack when He fed the multitude with a boys lunch.

He demonstrated the defeat of temptation when He looked in Peter’s eyes and said “Get behind me satan.”

He demonstrated the defeat of hypocrisy when He sat and ate with tax collectors and prostitutes.

He demonstrated the defeat of man-run religion when He lambasted the pharisees for their own hypocrisy.

Do you have troubles?

Don’t lose heart.

Jesus has conquered the world.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Shine where you’re screwed in.

Ben

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An Offer and A Request

Encouter cover samples covers only

As you may know, I am just weeks away from publishing my first book, “Encounters with Jesus.” It will be a collection of forty short accounts of events in the life of Jesus from the point of view of those He touched.

In it I take the perspective of dozens of men and women who spent time with Jesus as He walked the streets of Palestine.

I would once again like to ask for your help, and I have an offer for you in order to make it worth your while.

I am told, the easiest part of writing a book is writing the book. The hard part starts after you have it in your hands. How do you get the word out about your baby?

So here’s the deal.

If you are willing to give my book a read through, and write a blog post about it during the first week or two of the books release, I will email you a copy of the most recent edit (almost final) of the book in PDF form. This PDF should be available on Monday March 2nd.

I will send you a free PDF copy of the book.

What I would ask of you:

  • Write an honest post on your blog. (I won’t hold you to that if you hate the book—smile.) It can be a book review, opinion piece, or whatever you feel lead to share.
  • Provide a link on that post so people reading your post can go and purchase a copy.
  • Don’t share the PDF with others without asking first.
  • A review on Amazon would be nice too, but not mandatory for this offer.

If you are willing to help please email me: Ben@AnotherRedLetterDay.com

Just for the record, I am trying to make the book available on Amazon before Easter, but since this is my first time, I am sure there are things I have not anticipated.

Ben NelsonThanks for considering my offer.

Walk in the light!

Ben

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Nurturing a Pastor’s Heart – SoS Saturday (almost)

Many Waters - SoS header

Come, my beloved,
let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards and see
whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.

Song of Songs 7:11-12 ESV

Do you remember where the Song starts? Our girl cries out for a two-fold touch—two ways she asks the Lord to move in her life. Draw me after you; let us run. (1:4) We have seen this come to pass in her life. He has drawn her, they have run together.

She has grown and learned and become a mature wife—a partner with the Lord in ministry.

There is a thrill in my heart as I read today’s stanza.

Now instead of pleading for Him to draw her—to lead and allow her to follow—she is leaning into her own ministry. Don’t get me wrong. She isn’t getting out in front of Him in presumption. He is letting the Spirit in her lead her heart and draw Him. He has done such a work in her life, that she is no longer thinking; Draw me. Love me. Minister to me. Now she comes to Him with a heart that accurately mirrors His own priorities.

Let us go into the fields.

Let us lodge in the villages.

Let us go early to the vineyard and see its fruit.

Here’s a big idea…

Much of Christendom thinks of Christian maturity as the day our servanthood to Jesus is complete. Where we act on His every command and our lives walk out a perfect submission in every detail. We don’t make a move with out His specific say-so.

But is that what God goal is for us? Does He want us to be like the angels who carry out His commands?

Or does He want us to be adults.

When you raise a child, is it so they can, once grown, finally obey all your instructions to the letter? Or would you rather see them function independently, carrying out what you have taught them, walking with your same priorities, your same integrity, but using their own free will to express themselves and to express your priorities.

It may be a weak illustration with some holes in it, but think on this just a bit.

Does ‘doing the will of the Father’ mean waiting for instructions before taking each and every step—or—trusting the Spirit within (same God inside and above—right?) to inspire your ideas.

Hey – I get that there are times and situations where explicit obedience is required. Live must be submitted to His priorities and will. But He has given us creative hearts and free wills. These are not in us so that we can chain them in a dark corner of our heart home, but so they can fully express God in and through our redeemed flesh.

Check out what rises up in the maiden’s heart – “let’s go…” She has a pastor’s heart. Let’s make sure Your gardens are flourishing Lord. Let’s make sure they are bearing fruit. Let’s see if there is life in the churches.

She’s not renegade. She sounds just like Father.

Tell me truly – have I gone off the reservation here?

Ben NelsonWhat do you think?

Thanks for coming by.

Ben

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From the Archives: The Gift

Ben Nelson:

Wonderful!

Originally posted on Bread for the Bride:

thegiftFor the third time, the ageing Pharisee circled the strangely shaped object lying at his feet.  No one could tell him who had left it unsolicited outside his door, or even when it had appeared.  Wrapped in the skin of a lamb and crudely labelled with just one handwritten Hebrew word, “chen”, its appearance was a total mystery to him.

Suspiciously he pushed against it with his sandalled foot, at which the object shifted effortlessly across his floor.  “It can’t be heavy then”, he mused.  “Whatever its contents, they are obviously of little weight and therefore of minimum value.”  Cautiously he reached forth his right hand, prodding roughly, but the lambskin cover gave no hint of what might be hidden inside the parcel. 

“It doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen before” said the old man to no one but himself.  “It’s very shape and form are completely unfamiliar.”   Unfamiliarity was…

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He Desires Me! – SoS Saturday

Many Waters - SoS header

I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.

Song of Songs 7:10 NASB

For me, this is the diamond that sparkles in the setting of this wonderful Song of Songs.

We have, through the course of our ponderings on this Song of Songs, seen four similar statements:

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. ~1:14
My Beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 2:16
I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 6:3
I am my Beloved’s, And his desire is for me. ~ 7:10

I just love the progression of the walk of faith.

As a new believer, I may tend to see Jesus as what He is to me – what He has done for me. This never goes away, but it does tend to deepen as we grow. The fact is that no matter how long you have been in the faith, what Jesus is to us is a wonderful place to start in worship.

Growing in grace we see that Jesus gives Himself to us, and we say with the maiden, my Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You. And with the maiden we give our selves over to His ownership.

But somewhere along the way  a switch flips in the heart of the Jesus lover. No longer do we see ourselves as holding on to Jesus, but we see Him holding on to us. Like the maiden in the end of Song of Songs 4, the garden of our soul changes ownership. His ownership of me is no longer secondary to my decision to follow Him. Now my identity is fully found in Him. He is the answer to who I am.

Finally we come to a place where we see that we not only belong to Him, but He desires us.

Check out a few different translations of that phrase – as you read what follows, let it wash over you. Hear the voice of the Lord speaking each of these expressions.

His desire is toward me. (KJV)
He desires me! (LEB)
I am the one he desires. (TLB)
I’m all He wants. I’m all the world to Him! (MSG)
He longs for me. (NOG)
He desires only me. (NCV)
You long for me. (NIRV)
His desire is for me. (NIV)
He wants me. (NLV)
He claims me as his own. (NLT)
His turning shall be to me. (WYC)
All His desires are fulfilled in me (The Passion Translation)

O Christian brothers and sisters, hear this. If Jesus bought you with His precious blood, washed in His word, cleansed by His blood, then He wants you! You fulfill His desires. His turning shall be toward you.

Far too many Christians are living as though they took the forbidden fruit today. As if they fall from the favor of the Lord every day. As if every time they walk away from their prayer time, they immediately take off their robes of righteousness and don again their fig leaf loin cloths. Christians feel the condemnation, guilt, and shame washing over them the moment they step back out of their prayer closet.

Our Father has made all things new. He has set all things right. He has placed you in Christ, and seated you in heavenly places. You are no longer a child of wrath, but HIS DESIRE IS TOWARD YOU.

Like our maiden faire You belong to Him and He desires you.

Too good to be true?

Yep – that’s the way the Gospel rolls.

Perhaps we should call it the “Too Good News.”

Hallelujah.

Check out this video.

Ben NelsonHave a great day.

Walk in the light.

Ben

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Note: I love to use Bible Gateway’s “every English translation” feature. If you look up a specific verse (you have to search by a single verse reference for this to work) and look at the bottom of the page, you’ll see a link at the bottom for your verse “in all English translations.” That’s what I did above to get those snippets. Credits for all these translations can be found here, with the exception of “The Passion Translation” which is a brand new translation of the bible in passionate language by Dr. Brian Simmons.

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Help Needed

Ben Nelson:

Can you help my good friend Pastor J?

Originally posted on Lillie-Put:

100_4901

Hello WordPress Family. I am sending this word out to all 707 WordPress followers plus my 500 Facebook Friends and 121 Twitter Followers in hopes that at least one of you can help me.

As some of you know I am in the process of publishing my first novel. It is a coming of age story and one of the characters in it is a nun who has left her order for the Protestant church. My publishing editor has given me a list of to-do’s as we begin the editing process and one of the things on this list is to interview a sister who has left her order in the Catholic church and has joined the Protestant church.

Here is how you can help. If you have walked this pathway or if you know someone who has could you possibly make the introduction with the possibility of an interview. It can be done…

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