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Many Waters - SoS header

Our young bride has exposed her lovesick heart for all to see. She survived her ‘dark night of the soul,' and came out more in love with Jesus than ever.

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
That you tell him I am lovesick!

Song of Songs 5:8 NKJV

I hear of many former ‘Christian,’ even in ministry, who come to these days of testing and never come out the other side. In the old days they would burn out (I’m sure there is still lots of that going on in this driven society in which we minister) but today there are some that simply abandon the faith.

Some declare themselves atheists, others agnostic, others sit catatonically in the back pew as anonymous visitors moving from church to church and slipping in and out unseen.

It’s heartbreaking.

I think I see the root of the problem.

Many of us hear the wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ. We feel the weight of our sin and hear of His marvelous grace. We give our lives to Jesus and begin to experience the wonderful freedom of life forgiven.

We join with other believers, and we see some who really seem to know Him and they ______________________________. (fill in the blank with some super spiritual behavior – pray four hours a day – read 16 chapters of their Bible each day – fast twice a week – sleep on a bed of nails – whatever)

So you – wanting to be everything that Jesus wants you to be – head down to SLEEPY’S and get the latest in nail bed comfort.

As you mimic behaviors there may be some comfort and some good that comes of it. These disciplines of the faith won’t hurt you immediately, but when they are born out of mimicry rather than hunger, they begin to undermine your connection with Jesus.

Sadly, many of our seminaries have become places where we teach men to analyze God rather than to fall in love with Father.

Think about David, the first Shepherd King. How did He prepare for life as the greatest King to ever reign in Israel?

He sat under the stars and sang love songs to Father.

He went to the seminary of the stars and trained his heart rather than His head. Yes he meditated on the Word day and night. Yes he hid it in his heart. Yes he faced many tests of his faith and failed many times.

But he was first a lover of God. His patterns flowed from his passion.

He loved Father and His Word so much that he…

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

Psalms 119:164 NASB

So we read that and say – I need to stop seven times a day and praise Him. When our patterns come from the passions of others, they bind us rather than free us. [Tweet This]

We read the biographies of great men of faith and learn that they left their families for years at a time to preach the gospel in distant lands and determine to sacrifice our families, leaving behind fatherless children and ministerial widows.

In the end, works of the flesh will kill us.

Our calling is to obedience, but not to some list of ‘ought to’s, but to the whisper of Father in the chamber.

The Christian life is meant to be a walk with Jesus in the cool of the day, where He tells us what’s on His heart, and our heart begins to beat with His.

How Do I Stop?

Hmmm – Here are ten things you must do to improve your relationship with God.

Just kidding.

If we are to obey His voice, then we can assume He will speak.

Seek Him – seek His face – His voice.

When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You,
"Your face, O LORD, I shall seek."

Psalms 27:8 NASB

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for coming by today.

Bless you as you seek Him.

Ben

Thanks to Pastor J. for the Church Photo - Check out his blog - Lillie-Put: http://josephelonlillie.com/

When I started this pondering about the Sabbath, I really thought – two or three posts – I had no idea of going 2 weeks. Monday I start Christmas I promise, and later this morning you can be looking for a quickie birth announcement, as my first grand-baby is coming this morning.

There is one last passage that I want to toss briefly into the mix. It's in Hebrews. Actually half of the third chapter and all of the fourth deal with Sabbath and entering into the rest prepared for us. We could have a lengthy Bible study on this passage, and it would be really worthwhile going verse by verse, but I do not have time here and now to dig in. Perhaps in the new year. For now – a couple key concepts.

The rest God offers is entered by faith.

For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. - Hebrews 4:2

This faith was demonstrated in obedience, or perhaps I should say lack of faith was demonstrated by disobedience.

Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, - Hebrews 4:6

There is yet a place of rest available for our entry.

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. - Hebrews 4:9

We must find this tension of living in the rest God has provided and striving for a rest yet to be entered.

Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. - Hebrews 4:11

In this letter to the Hebrew Christians, the writer exhorts them toward faith, diligence and obedience.

Lest you be compelled into some legalistic observance of old law, I want you to understand that these three are one.

We are not called to believe facts and creeds, and enter by the sweat of our brow in religious labor, and the keeping of hundreds of ceremonial laws.

The “work” you (we) are called to, is faith, and what faith looks like is abiding. Living in Christ, living, seated in heavenly places in and with Christ. Hearing His voice and responding to it daily. This is the call.

Loving Him and His people, these are the commands He has given, and this is what faith looks like.

Love is the path to rest. [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Have a blessed day

And for now you can call me

Grampa Ben (watch for the announcement later today [big smile])

 

Before I move on from Matthew 7:21-23 there is just one bone I have to pick with Jesus. (Just to be clear, I never win when I start on this footing, but it’s how I process.) But first – the red letters:

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

It has always struck me that Jesus lists the same works He did in His ministry

  • Prophecy
  • Casting out Demons
  • Performing miracles

and positions these as acts of lawlessness.

Check out some other translations:

  • ye that work iniquity. (KJV)
  • you lawbreakers! (HCSB)
  • you wicked people! (GNT)
  • you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. (AMP)
  • you people who do wrong. (ERV)
  • you evil people. (GW)
  • you that traffic in wrong-doing. (KNOX)
  • you have worked on the side of evil! (Phillips)
  • You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important (MSG) ([i])

Iniquity, law-breaker, wicked, evil, strong words all. Every translation of the Bible puts this in the most unyielding light. And yet, Jesus did the same things, and declared, He was doing the will of the Father.

More to the point, just a couple chapters later Jesus would be sending His own boys out to do the same works.

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons; freely you received, freely give. ~ Matthew 10:7-8

So what is the deal, Jesus?

The DEAL is this. You must be connected – you must daily hear the voice of the Father for your life. You must do what you see the Father do, just as Jesus did. Trying to do these works, even doing these works, while not under the instruction of the Father is, as Eugene Peterson put it in the message “missing the boat.” He paraphrased Jesus’ words this way:

You missed the boat. All you did was use Me to make yourselves important. ~ Matthew 7:23 MSG

Check out this verse in Malachi 3 – it nails the problem as it defines the difference between the wicked and the righteous:

So You will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. ~ Malachi 3:18

My call to you today is to walk like Jesus walked (1 John 2:6,) ever connected to His Father, and doing only His Father’s will. [Tweet This]

You can abide in Christ, and He has promised that He will abide in you.

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. ~ John 14:23

BenWalk with Jesus today – do the works that Jesus did, as you see Him lead you.

Come back again soon

Ben

By the way – I have found a wonderful tool – I am sure most of you know about BibleGateway.com, but did you know that if you type a specific verse reference, a link appears below it that lets you see “all English translations.” I love this, and use it all the time. Bible Gateway has like 44 English New Testament Version available, and some times the simple nuance you get from a different way of translation opens a passage up to your heart and mind.

My favorite Bible site is still BlueLetterBible.org for word studies and the like, but this tool is a huge blessing!


[i] Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation; Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center; GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group; Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society; Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.; J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition by HarperCollins; King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain; Knox Bible (KNOX) Knox Bible. Copyright © 2012 Westminster Diocese. Published by Baronius Press. All rights reserved; The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

This Blog post from My friend Cheryl  so clearly captures the WHY behind my blog that I wanted to repost it here. The power of the Red Letters described:

Here's Cheryl's post:

Words of Jesus – The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock

24″Anyone who listens to My teaching and obeys Me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on rock. 26 But anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.

~ Matthew 7:24-27 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.emmanuelsfoundation.org

A house builder knows the importance of a good foundation. While you may be able to cut corners elsewhere, if the foundation of a building or house is not firm, it will begin to erode over time, eventually ruining the house. If a foundation begins to erode, walls will begin to crack, and the house will even begin to crumble and fall apart.

When Jesus was talking to the crowds who had gathered for the Sermon on the Mount, He told them that if they were wise, they would listen and obey Him, just as a wise man who built his... [Follow the link below to read on...]

Words of Jesus – The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock | Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

 

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