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Image Credit - Graphic Stock
Image Credit - Graphic Stock

It’s another red letter day, and Jesus is, as He is want to do, trying to wreck the hell in my life once again.

He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. - Matthew 10:39 NASB

Since the middle of the last century, we send our children out to ‘find themselves’ as they head off to college, and we have lost a generation.

We send them off to ‘professors’ who profess to know, but they lead our little lambs away from the Light.

We sat them down in the shade of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and asked them to judge for themselves what is right and wrong, while the low hanging fruit of the tree of life is despised.

We, by our example, taught our children to consume until the idea of laying down a life seems extreme and foolish.

When I was growing up, we honored those we called missionaries, who set aside their ‘potential’ in the world’s system, and laid down their lives to see that others heard the Word of God. Today we hold on to our children, and drive them to reach their full potential.

I’m sorry if this seems like a rant. I read these red letters this morning and I see all the self-preservation in my own life. I see the protections I have put in place so as not to lose my life.

Just before He ascended into heaven Jesus says this:

but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. - Acts 1:8 NASB

This word ‘witnesses’ is the Greek word ‘martys’ where we get our word martyr. Interestingly enough the reason this Greek word means martyr is because these witnesses, the men and women sent by Jesus,  laid down their lives to preach – to live – the gospel. It changed the word - and it changed the world.

Here is my reading of Acts 1:8

…when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive the power to lay down your life… [Tweet This]
Acts 1:8 BUV (Ben’s Unauthorized Version)

I'm not ranting at our society today, I'm not ranting at the Church, or Christian parents, or colleges. I'm ranting at the mirror, as I see how tightly I hold to that which is decaying, and how nimbly I am able to avoid losing my life.

Lord, this day help me lay down my life, take up my cross, and follow You.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Let us also go, so that we may die with Him. ~ Thomas - John 11:16

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam. 

I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; 
I have drunk my wine and my milk. 
Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.

Song of Songs 5:1 NASB

Jesus, the creator of all things comes into the midst of His creation.

The infinite God steps into the soul of this one who has an ugly history but has been called out and washed in His wonderful blood.

Anything good in me comes from Him. He is the one who has eliminated my sketchy past. He is the one who gave me this new heart. If my heart is a garden, He gave me the land, He put up the fence, He formed the gate, He gave me a desire to plant, He gave that which is beautiful in me the ability to grow and flourish.

What can this garden offer the Lord?

Myrrh and balsam

Myrrh and balsam point to Christ’s suffering and death on the cross. Having received the life that comes from His death, our lives, our gardens are always marked by our remembrance of Him.

As we take communion, we remember His words

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. - Matthew 26:26-28 NASB

Paul said this about his life

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ... From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus. - Galatians 6:14, 17 NASB

So it is with our garden. The death and resurrection of Jesus are easily remembered. “And He built a tower in the middle of it” (Isaiah 5:2)

Image Credit - graphicstock.com - licensed for use
Image Credit - graphicstock.com - licensed for use

Our maiden, this “all in” believer, not only remembers the cross of her Lover, but embraces it in her own life. She takes up her cross, whatever the Master puts before her, with joy.

Honey and Wine

Honey speaks of pleasure, wine of joy. Though she bears in her body the marks of suffering, her garden blossoms with deep joy and pleasure.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalms 16:11 NASB

As the Father opens our eyes to the path He has for us to walk, though it may be the road to the cross, He does not leave us or forsake us on that path.

Get this! It’s really important. When we walk the “path of life” in communion with the Lover of our Souls, He will not leave us or forsake us. If He is with us, simply put, we are in His presence. In His presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand there are pleasures forever.

This path of life David speaks of is not ‘show me how to live so when I die I get You Lord.

No No No. More like this:

Help me walk this life in You, so I can see what You are doing and do it with You, so that I can hear what You are saying and say it too.

Sounds just like Jesus, doesn’t it? And the writer to the Hebrew believers said this of Jesus.

"YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS." - Hebrews 1:9 NASB

(I’m not shouting – that is how the NASB does quotes from the Old Testament)

Because Jesus walked in unity with the Father, His life was marked with joy and pleasure, in spite of the suffering.

This is what He finds in the garden of His beloved.

Ben NelsonThanks for checking in today.

Be aware of the Lord’s presence today.

Ben

photo credit: Woodlouse via photopin cc
photo credit: Woodlouse via photopin cc

Jesus said:

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. ~ Matthew 7:15-16

We have been spending some time looking at Jude’s description of this ungodly men and women who have “crept in unnoticed” and are turning folks away from the “faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (taken from Jude 3 & 4)

These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage. ~ Jude 16

Jesus explains the Christian walk this way:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. ~ Mark 8: 34-35

Hey, I’m not trying to preach some cranky, burden laden gospel. The Cross set me free, and it will set you free too. But that freedom, that love, that relationship, that love affair with Jesus, will simply make you look more like Him. You will be forced to lay down the stuff that fills your hands, so that you can hold the things He created you to carry. You were designed with a purpose (Ephesians 2:10) which will be fulfilled when you walk with Him. [Tweet This]

False prophets, false teachers follow their own lusts.

What does that look like?

Following your lusts means never saying no to yourself, always looking for a way to dodge trials, rather than press through them, walking in the direction of self promotion and self preservation is paramount.

Are you a preacher, teacher, prophet, sharer of the gospel?

These words preach to me – how about you?

BenThanks for coming by

Ben

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