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Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End. ~ Granpa (Peter Falk) – The Princess Bride

Ah, the Kiss – Do you remember when Jacob kissed Rachel? Check this out – I bet we will see this on Hallmark Movie night in Heaven.

Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted his voice and wept. (Gen 29:11 NASB)

In Psalm 2 we are told:

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:12 NIV)

Now to the Song.

Here, in the song, we are introduced to the voice of the maiden. We'll learn much about her in coming weeks. But our first glimpse of her tells us she is smitten. A man, familiar perhaps and a part of her daily life, has caught her passion. She wants to know him, but they are just acquaintances. They pass one another in the village square but have not connected in any real way. You might say she is an admirer of this Shepherd King.

The opening line belongs to the maiden.

May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! - Song of Songs 1:2)

The approach we're taking to this wonderful song places us squarely in the place of a maiden crying out for a kiss from the mouth from her would be lover. I told you that the maiden represents each of us as passionate believers. Our walk of passion begins right here, with a desire for kisses from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. This may seem strange if you are a man, but stay with me here.

Let's take a slight liberty with words here, to help us understand the heart of the Spirit in these words.  May He kiss me with the kisses of His Word. There—I know I feel better already.

We are going to see in this Song dozens, maybe hundreds, of word pictures, and Here's our first.

Since, for our purposes we are going to consider this Shepherd King to be Jesus, a kiss from His mouth – would be His Word.

When we look at the mouth of the Lord in the scripture we are usually looking at His Word and His speech. For example

  • …For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:20, 40:5, 58:14 NIV)
  • Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it. (Jeremiah 1:12 NASB)

The Word of God is food to us, bread, the bread of life.

  • In Matthew 4:3,4 Jesus tells us "man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."
  • In Matthew 6:11, in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus asks God to give us each day our daily bread.
  • God gives us bread not stone as a good Father in Matt 7:9.
  • Matthew 26 shows us that the broken body of Jesus is the broken bread of communion.
  • John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.
  • We understand that healing is the children’s bread from Mark 7:27.

When I speak of the Word of God, what comes to mind may be a leather bound stack of paper beside your reading chair, or perhaps the app on your communication device. Maybe you think of your pastor delivering a sermon.

But God speaks to—kisses—us in so many ways today. First and foremost he speaks to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells us His words are spirit and life. This is the kiss I'm looking for. The kiss of the voice of Jesus through Holy Spirit leading and guiding, nudging and prodding.

Kiss me with the kisses of Your word!

This divine kiss speaks of the favor, blessing, salvation, healing and reconciliation offered to us freely in this day of His favor and grace. All that is available to any man by faith through Word of God (a.k.a. Jesus.)

Hallelujah - that is some kiss!

Join me in asking the Father for the divine kiss from the mouth of Jesus.

Kiss me with the kisses of your Word.

Thanks for joining me today.

Come back soon.

Ben

photo credit: Sarah Korf via photo pin cc

Yesterday, we looked at the fact that Jesus is the express image of God and to see God we should look at Jesus. But as I promised, I want to see where Jesus took this truth next as He answered Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Here is the passage again, with my highlighting:

Again, it would be awesome if you would read this aloud:

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. ~ John 14:9-21

Jesus, the way to know God

So along with telling the boys how they could see God, how they could get to know God’s character and nature, He was going to take this conversation to another destination.

The first paragraph of His answer basically goes like this. You have seen God because He lives in Me, and you have seen Me, the things I do and the words I say, show you exactly who God is.

And as we saw yesterday in Hebrews 1, He is not just the “good parts version” of the immutable (unchangeable) God, He is the “exact representation of His nature” (from Hebrews 1:3.)

The Other Shoe

After making it clear to the disciples that He was how they were to see God, He explains that in the very same way, they were, and we are, a way for people to see and know God.

Each reason Jesus gives Philip for seeing the Father through Himself, He turns around and explains how they will have the same ability to present or should I say re-present the Father to those they touch.

The same Spirit that was in Christ, “will be in you.” The same works that Christ used to demonstrate the character and nature of the Father, “he will do also; and greater works than these he will do.”

Just as Jesus spoke only what He heard the Father say, His promise to the boys comes down like this:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. - John 14:26

Honestly, this revelation is a bit of a world rocker to me. I can be such a screw up at times. I hurt the people I love on a regular basis because my head is stuck where the sun does not shine, and I am thinking about my agenda, my needs, my…self, and that is NOTHING LIKE GOD.

But THIS is His plan. The master plan, set in place before the foundations, before time, before sin, before life as we know it.

If you are in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, His idea is that when people see you, they would be looking at the Father. [Boy, that feels downright blasphemous, doesn’t it?] [Click here to tweet it anyway]

OK – let’s not get all arrogant-n-stuff, because we fall, we fail, and that’s on a good day. But the fact is, when men and women look at YOU and ME, because of the new creation, the new heart, the new covenant, God, using His infinite power, gives your circle of influence a glimpse of the Almighty.

When they look at you, they see God, and when they see you fall, and God lift you up, they see their own need for God, their own need for “my Glory and the Lifter of my head.”

I know, crazy, right?

Lord, today, this day, shine through my successes and my failures, so those around me can see You, and are drawn to the Lover of their souls.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you're screwed in.

Ben

Hi all,

Today and tomorrow I'm going to re-air 2 posts from three years ago about the nature of Jesus. I think these two posts will bless you and I pray we would together turn our eyes toward Jesus. Here we go.

===

Let's dig into Jesus’ answer to Philip’s request:

Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." - John 14:8

Have you been pondering this passage?

Here is what jumps out at me – Now normally I would put all these words in red, this being Another Red Letter Day, but today I am going to paint a just a few words in blue so they stand out.

It would be awesome if you read this out loud (or out quiet) but I want it to be oral. The more faculties you involve the more tuned in you are, so let’s have a faculty party today.

Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him." ~ John 14:9-21

I know, that is kind of a big chunk of scripture for a blog post, but as you can see from what is highlighted, there are some pretty strong ties from top to bottom.

Here is what I saw as I pondered this passage.

There are two (or maybe three) aspects Jesus emphasizes, that He says will enable us to see the Father.

Indwelling, or cohabitation

The first is the fact that, as He says, “I am in the Father.” This He says three times, and two of these are followed with “and the Father is in Me.” He tells Philip and the rest of the disciples that they can know God. They can “see the Father” right before their eyes because Jesus is indwelt by the Father.

The best way for them to see God was to look at Jesus.

Words and Works

The second way they could see God was to look at the things Jesus was saying and doing, His words and works. He actually tells them that if they were not sure what to believe about Jesus’ relationship with God, this indwelling thing, they should believe just because of the works He was doing. He was… – well as Luke tells us:

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. - Acts 10:38

Jesus, because God was with Him, the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside, did works that demonstrated God, His character, and nature.

We read again in my favorite of all scriptures (I am pretty sure this is the top of my top ten list:)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:1-3

We see here that Jesus is not "like" God, fuzzy around the edges, like what the prophets taught, according to verse 1. Instead, Jesus is the “exact representation of His nature.” He is not a partial image, where He is only depicting "the good parts" of who God is, but Jesus is a complete revelation of God. If you don’t find it in Jesus, it is not in God. Jesus is the complete study guide to God the Father. Jesus is perfect theology. [Tweet This] There is nothing in Jesus that is not in God, and there is nothing in God that is not in Jesus. And God has seen to it that what is recorded in the Word about Jesus is enough of a revelation for us to know the Father.

So my first takeaway is pretty simple. The best way to know God, and what God is like is to look at Jesus, His words and His works. He, Jesus, tells us this repeatedly and these other passages reinforce this idea, that He only ever did what God was doing, or would do, and His words were coming straight from the throne of God.

But Jesus does not stop here. He does not simply say, you want to see God look at Me! He takes it to a place that changes everything.

Come back tomorrow, and we will see as the other shoe drops.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon. In the mean time…

Shine where you are screwed in.

Ben

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Hi all.

I was poking through my archives and I wanted to share an oldie but goodie from a couple years back. Grab your coffee and check this out. I think you'll like it.

Blessings...

=== from February of 2014 ===

I have been pondering the picture of circumcision.

I understand that these Old Covenant requirements of the law have a real spiritual application in the New Covenant, and one day while I was minding my own business God began to press on my heart the meaning behind circumcision.

My favorite mode of discovery is to write or talk though an idea or concept – so here we go…

What is Circumcision?

First in the physical, it is the cutting away of a part of a man’s reproductive organ (trying to keep it polite here.) [I am not a doctor, nor have I ever observed this procedure, and I don’t really know any of the medical pros or cons, that is not my purpose here.]

I once heard one of my favorite preachers of all time, Jack Hayford, point out that circumcision has to do with our core identity.

Though I don’t remember it well, I am pretty sure the first thing anyone ever said about me was “It’s a BOY!”

Even now, in the days of ultrasound and pre-natal videos, when someone tells you they are having a baby, 90% of the time (yes, I have done a scientific study on this –wink) the first question is, “boy or girl?”

Just as your manhood or womanhood is at the core of your identity, so too, your spiritual identity without Christ is marked with one first observation.

When God looks at your, outside of Christ, there is one thing that stands out – this child is lost.

John tells us that this person, outside Christ, is condemned already and under the wrath of God. (John 3:18 & 36)

But in Christ we can say with Paul:

for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, - Philippians 3:3 NASB

This picture of circumcision is the cutting off of something intimately linked to our identity, a part of who we are at the core of our being.

Circumcision is the violent cutting off of our sin nature.

Let me say it again.

Your sin nature has been violently cut off and thrown away – cast off like the foul piece of dead flesh it is. [Tweet this] It's a bloody mess – leave it alone.

Who in their right mind would pick up that bit of death and try to fit it back into their life?

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, - Philippians 3:8 NASB

This word rubbish is defined: “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs - things worthless and detestable” [From Thayer’s Greek Lexicon]

The result is that you are no longer identified in God's eyes by your sin nature! Hallelujah. You have a new identity with Him. You are clean, pure, without that former blot!.

Let’s walk in the Spirit today, and step away from life in the flesh. See yourself from God's perspective - clean and free.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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Proclamation Ornaments
Proclamation Ornaments

A few years back my dear one, Corinne, was listening to a radio preacher – Adrian Rogers of Love Worth Finding Ministries. (http://www.lwf.org/)

At that time they were selling what they called “Proclamation Ornaments.” It is a set of tree ornaments with an Old Testament Prophecy and on the back of the ornament was the New Testament fulfillment. They were intended to be an advent devotion tool, one ornament for each day of December leading up to Christmas day.

By the time we got them our kids were in High School and College so it was not practical for us to have daily family time with everyone present.

So the first year we got them, we bought a little tree which we set up in the room with our main tree, and as we opened presents that year, you would open a present, and then you would take an ornament and look up the Old Testament and New Testament passage.

I will not say it was easy to stay on track all day, but it really added to our Christmas. We don’t do it every year, but we have done it a number of times, and by the time you are done you have such a wonderful sense of assurance in your redeemer.

BenDirector3CroppedI thought I would lay them out for you here. They do go right through Christ life so it would work well for Easter as well.

Merry Christmas

Ben

====================

Day one - Son of God
Day one - Son of God
Day 1 Son of God
Prophecy Psalm 2:7
Fulfillment John 3:16
Day One Fulfillment
Day One Fulfillment
Day 2 Seed of a Woman
Prophecy Genesis 3:15
Fulfillment Galations 4:4
Day 3 Savior
Prophecy Isaiah 42:5-7
Fulfillment Matthew 1:21
Day 4 Born of a virgin
Prophecy Isaiah 7:14
Fulfillment Matthew 1:18-25
Day 5 Born in Bethlehem
Prophecy Micah 5:2
Fulfillment Luke 2:4-7
Day 6 The Way Prepared
Prophecy Isaiah 40:3-5
Fulfillment Matthew 3:1-3
Day 7 Teacher
Prophecy Psalm 78:3-4
Fulfillment Matthew 13:34-35
Day 8 Deliverer and Healer
Prophecy Isaiah 61:1-3
Fulfillment Luke 4:16-21
Day 9 Rejected by Men
Prophecy Isaiah 53:3
Fulfillment John 1:11
Day 10 Triumphal Entry
Prophecy Zechariah 9:9
Fulfillment Matthew 21:1-11
Day 11 Betrayed
Prophecy Zechariah 11:12-13
Fulfillment Matthew 26:14-16 & 27:3-10
Day 12 The Disciples Scattered
Prophecy Zechariah 13:7
Fulfillment Matthew 26:31,55-56
Day 13 Accused by False Witnesses
Prophecy Psalm 35:11
Fulfillment Mark 14:57-58
Day 14 The Silent Lamb
Prophecy Isaiah 53:7
Fulfillment Matthew 27:12-14
Day 15 Reviled and Mocked
Prophecy Psalm 22:6-7
Fulfillment Matthew 27:39-44
Day 16 Lots Cast for His Garments
Prophecy Psalm 22:18
Fulfillment John 19:23-24
Day 17 Not a Bone Broken
Prophecy Psalm 34:20
Fulfillment John 19:31-37
Day 18 Pierced for our Transgressions
Prophecy Isaiah 53:5
Fulfillment Luke 23:33 & John 19:34
Day 19 Buried with the Rich
Prophecy Isaiah 53:9
Fulfillment Matthew 27:57-60
Day 20 He Arose
Prophecy Psalm 16:9-10
Fulfillment Matthew 28:2-7
Day 21 The Righteous One
Prophecy Jeremiah 23:5-6
Fulfillment 2 Corinthians 5:21
Day 22 He Ascended!
Prophecy Psalm 68:18
Fulfillment Mark 16:19
Day 23 The Cornerstone
Prophecy Psalm 118:21-23
Fulfillment Acts 4:11-12
Day 24 He is Coming Again
Prophecy Isaiah 9:7
Fulfillment Revelation 19:11-16
The Ultimate Promise!
The Ultimate Promise!
Day 25 Jesus
Fulfillment Luke 1:26-35 & Luke 2:1-20 & Matthew 2:1-12
The Ultimate Fulfillment
The Ultimate Fulfillment

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For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NASB)

Lord

I remember talking to you young boy (probably 9 or 10 years old) who had been involved in church programs for most of his life. I asked him about his relationship with the Lord Jesus, and he told me that he had made Jesus his Savior a couple years back.

I know he was young, but this was a turn of phrase that he had picked up somewhere, and it really got under my skin.

I gently (at least I think I was gentle, but in those days that was not necessarily my hallmark) explained that you could not make Jesus your Savior. Becoming a Savior is something He did. Your part is to surrender to Him as Lord.

In explanation of the concept of Lord, my friend Kim, who led me to the Lord a few decades ago, used to say (and no doubt still does) ‘unless Jesus is your Lord, your Master, your King, your Boss, you have no place in the kingdom of God.’

Let me be clear. This is not a works thing, it is a submission thing.

I have said it before in this blog, we come into the kingdom of God in the role of servant, bowing our knee to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The government of our lives must rest on His shoulders.

There are those who gather with the body of Christ, tares among the wheat, who believe all the right facts about Jesus, but have never bowed their knee to His Lordship. They live their own lives without any regard to Jesus and His word. Again it is not about their works, the things they do, but their hearts are not surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They never respond to the twinge of conscience when they walk their own way, if they are even aware of it anymore.

But you, beloved, who love Him and surrender to Him, living life listening for the voice of the Spirit, there is no condemnation for you. When you misstep, you quickly adjust as the Holy Spirit within you suggests adjustments and corrections to your path.

Do you see the difference?

One life ship guided by the rudder of the Holy Spirit (this is the Lordship of Jesus Christ) and one guided by self preservation, or betterment.

Who is Jesus to you today?

Will you bow your knee to Jesus this Christmas? He is still King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and is ready to be your King and Lord even now. [Tweet This]

Here’s how.

Simply call out to Jesus today. Tell Him you need Him to take leadership in your life. Confess every sin He brings to mind, right now, out loud. Take responsibility for your sin, pride and rebellion. Then open your heart to Him. (What does that mean?) Ask Him to be your Lord, Master, King, Boss and begin to submit to Him every day. Romans 8:14 says "They that are led by the Spirit of God, they are the children of God," so ask the Holy Spirit to guide you today and every day.

Hey, thanks for stopping in today. If you surrendered to Jesus for the first time today, tell somebody about it, get plugged into a church where they teach the Bible, and hang out with people who know Jesus and can help you follow Him.

BenDirector3CroppedMerry Christmas

Ben

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origin_4213511374

For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NASB)

Christ

When the Angels told the shepherd to find Christ the Lord, they did not go to the mailbox with “Christ” on it and ask for a baby named Jesus.

Christ was not His last name – it was His job description. Here it is in His own words:

The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19 NASB)

You see Christ means anointed one.

Peter tells us again in Acts

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38 NASB)

Anointing is what makes all the difference in the world. Without anointing, you can preach, share, teach, pray, and it won’t do you any good.

It is the anointing that breaks the yoke.

Jesus did not do His works by the power He brought with Him, but rather by the power poured upon Him.

Here is the crazy thing. He is looking to pour His anointing on you!

The plan is simple – You can be Christ to those around you.

Isn’t that awesome?

BenI love Christmas!

Ben

photo credit: BloomKitty via photopin cc

Rebroadcast from Christmas 2012 - Enjoy...
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For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11 NASB)

Savior

For the next 3 posts we are going to take a brief look at the Job description for a Messiah.

The first requirement is He must be a Savior.

The word Savior here is “sōtēr” which comes from the root “sōzō,” another of my favorites words in the Bible. It is very similar to the word we looked at yesterday – Shalom.

Here are some places it is used.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."(Matthew 1:21 NASB)

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour (Matthew 9:21-22 KJV)

And besought him greatly, saying , My little daughter lieth at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live . (Mark 5:23 KJV)

"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9 NASB)

So this job description includes the power to Save, Heal, and Make Whole.

I have heard it said “When Jesus saves a person, He saves the whole person.” But I will go you one better. When Jesus saves a broken person He make them whole.” [Tweet This]

This is what the writer to the Hebrews is saying:

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25 NKJV)

I love this – He saves us, and keeps us saved by His constant intercession for us. What an awesome Savior we have!

BenMerry Christmas

Ben

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I'm away for the weekend at a wonderful (so far) conference - the Supernatural Life Conference in Harrisburg PA. One of my readers visited an article from two years ago and I realized it has been a long time since I shared my testimony on my blog, so I thought I would bring it back up for another look. This is my story. Perhaps you can share yours too.

Blessings

Ben

IMG_1069

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23

Who are these shocked folks outside heaven’s narrow gate?

  • They call Jesus Lord.
  • They have prayed “the” prayer.
  • They have been in Church – a lot.
  • They have even prophesied, cast out demons, and done many miracles.

When I read this I say with the eleven disciples at the last supper, 'Lord, is it me?'

In fact, this is the very scripture He used to draw me in.

I grew up as a church kid. I was always the good boy, always knew my memory verse, always got my Sunday school lesson done (albeit Sunday morning right before we left for church.)

  • I asked Jesus into my heart at age 4.
  • I was baptized in my little Plymouth Brethren Chapel when I was 11.
  • In my teens went through the Presbyterian Catechism.
  • At sixteen sang in a touring Christian choir
  • As a High School Senior joined the Church Choir
  • Considered becoming a missionary at the Urbana Conference at age 19
  • Taught Sunday school.
  • Ran the Christian Service Brigade boys program at our Church

Then one day I was listening to a preacher (Thank you brother Kim Josephson!) preach a sermon on the Rich Young Ruler, which described me to a tee.

I had to face the fact that I did not have an active, current relationship with Lord Jesus Christ. I asked myself, ‘Am I known by this Jesus?’

I started to ponder verses like John 4:10

…the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

I had to confess at age 25, I really did not know His voice. I knew His name, I knew His Word, I knew about Him, but He was not my Lord, my Master, my King, my Boss. I was not following Him, I was living life in a way that seemed right in my own eyes.

If you had asked me, I would say I had a relationship with Jesus, that He lived in my heart, but I could not point to His direction. I didn't know His voice. I didn't know His leading, so how could I be a follower?

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. ~ Romans 8:14

That morning, listening to that sermon, driving down the road, I pulled off to the side of the road and, brushing tears from my eyes asked Jesus to take control of my life.

He had used His Word and His faithful messenger to expose to me the “one thing I lacked” (from Mark 10:21) and from that moment, with that very first baby step of repentance and faith, I began to “hear His voice” in my life.

I am so glad He is faithful. I am so glad He pursued me. I have a sense that those prayers and activities early in life were not wasted. He honored the little boy’s prayer at age 4, and wooed me for over 2 decades until finally I was willing to give Him more than lip service.

Where do you stand today?

If you feel some kind of vague uncertainty, brush it away. Vague condemnation comes from satan, and he loves to exploit the Word of God to his own advantage.

However, if you sense the Spirit of God saying take up your cross and follow me today, even if you have considered yourself a Christian for decades, don’t hold back. Give yourself to Him today. You will never be the same.

He will lead you to the life you were created for. [Tweet This]

I am so glad you stopped by today to hear my story. I would love to hear yours.

Just think, someone who does not identify with my story, might really resonate with yours! Why not blog about it, and leave a link below – or if you are not a blogger, just use the comment section here to tell us your story.

BenThanks for reading today.

See you tomorrow

Ben

4

Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.

Song of Songs 8:5 NASB

In the Song, the mother figure points to the role of the Church in the life of a believer. Here we have the Shepherd King saying to the maiden, this is where your mother gave birth to you.

In these three short lines there is a wealth of wisdom for church leaders.

1) The church is first likened to an apple tree. The apple tree has many uses, but the two main assets I’m seeing are it’s protection and provision. The branches and leaves provide shelter from the sun and other elements.

Why protection from the sun?

Remember the parable of the soils? In stony ground, the seeds route system is weekend or nonexistent. The little ones coming up in the church need some help taking hold, digging their roots down deep in the soil. The apple tree—church—should be protecting it’s seedlings and saplings from the strong persecution—standing with them as they face the trials that come along with a new life in Christ.

2) Next we see that mother—the church—was in labor with her. Not everyone in church is in the same place. There are those who are on the road to salvation; There are those who have no idea or connection to Christ at all; There are those who are set in the church to mentor—to disciple—the young up and comers; There are shepherds and warriors in place to protect and defend the little ones of the flock, to ensure they are not devoured by wolves, or choked by weeds, or simply wander off.

3) The path to life in Christ is a path—a way. We must realize that everyone who walks through our doors is in a different place, and there may be labor involved in bringing them to life. Seeds have been sown; Promises have been made; Signs of life are evident. But there still may be labor pains, and we must see it through. We must push and breath and push and breath. It may get messy, and noisy, but we must not relent.

It is far to easy for church leadership to be content with the status quo and resist the work—labor—involved in bringing babies to the Lord. We must do it anyway. It’s why we are here. It’s why God has assembled you.

Maybe church doesn’t look like church to you, and maybe I should use the word community rather than church, but I think you can see what I’m talking about.

God wants you to be in community, and for the community of Christ to labor and bring forth life where before there was only death.

Lord, help me find my place in the process of bring many sons to glory—many men and women to worship at your feet.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.

Blessings

Ben

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And now for a small celebration - did you bring a party hat?

This is my 1,000th post on Another Red Letter Day.

Wooo Hooo

OK - Party's over - please cleanup after yourselves.