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A simple thought for today.

In Matthew 3, Jesus is baptized by John in the Jordan and God the Father shows up. He has something to say.

and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." - Matthew 3:17 NASB

What happens next? The Spirit of God leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." - Matthew 4:3 NASB

The very first words out of satan’s* mouth challenge the very last words out of the Father’s mouth.

Father speaks words over Jesus, intended to reinforce the truth of His identityYou are My Son.

satan’s* first attack slams right into God’s most recent revelation.

And how does Jesus combat this attack?

He says, in effect, God’s word is my life.

But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" - Matthew 4:4 NASB

The word that came out of the mouth of God was “This is My Son.” You can’t take that from me with your bad logic, satan.

What has Father spoken over you? It’s more true than anything satan brings to your attention. satan* uses flawed logic to make you doubt what God has spoken over your life.

What God has spoken is the food you need to chew on until it becomes the fiber of your being.

Chew on that for a while

Thanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

*satan is not capitalized intentionally.

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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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What do you do when you have nothing?

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. - Genesis 1:2-3

God spoke.

Selah

~~~

What do you do when your enemy attacks those you hold dear?

The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; - Genesis 3:14

God spoke.

Selah

~~~

What do you do when the ones you love keep going back to danger and trouble?

He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions. - Psalm 107:20

God spoke.

Selah

~~~

What do you do when those you love are lost in darkness?

Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. - Psalm 119:105

God spoke.

Selah

~~~

What do you do when you face a world of shame, guilt and sin?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:1, 14

God spoke.

Selah

~~~

Ben NelsonI'm so glad you stopped by.

Check out yesterday's post - "Speak"

See you again soon.

Ben

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Why Red Letters?

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. - John 16:13 NASB

The Spirit had His divine highlighter out this morning as I looked at this passage.

Here is what I saw in my spirit.

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. - John 16:13 NASB

The thing I was thinking is that everything (pronounced EVERYTHING) we receive from God comes through word. The word of God spoken to our heart is the source of all life in us.

Consider the beginning of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might - Ephesians 1:17-18 NASB

He prays for our capacities to receive the word – that holy seed of the supernatural – as the inheritance promised.

Next consider Peter’s comments on how we partake of the divine nature:

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. - 2 Peter 1:3-4 NASB

Now – we can’t just hear – we must hear and allow the word to have it’s work in us by obedience.

for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. - Romans 2:13 NASB

But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. - James 1:22 NASB

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. - Matthew 7:24 NASB

I am just going to let this little string of scriputres speak today – I have said enough. If you skimmed over the scriptures above, please go back and read them with an eye to what the Spirit has for you today.

BN Writers Page 150Blessings,

Ben

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Psalm 29:3-9:

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The LORD is over many waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful,
The voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

I know this may be coloring outside the lines but when I read this my mind circles around to – Jesus is the Word of God – kind of like the voice of the LORD – right?

So try this on for size:

Jesus is upon the waters;
The God of glory thunders,
The LORD is over many waters.

(reminds me of Jesus walking on the water)

Jesus is powerful,
Jesus is majestic.
Jesus breaks the cedars;
Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.

(reminds me of Jesus cursing the fig tree)

He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
And Sirion like a young wild ox.

(reminds me of Jesus sitting on the back of an young – untamed – donkey and riding it into town)

Jesus hews out flames of fire.
Jesus shakes the wilderness;
The LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
Jesus makes the deer to calve
And strips the forests bare;

And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”

OK – so I am a temple of the Living God – what can I do but say

GLORY

====

Image Credit and info: In England, artist Francis Barraud (1856-1924) painted his brother's dog Nipper listening to the horn of an early phonograph during the winter of 1898. Victor Talking Machine Company began using the symbol in 1900, and Nipper joined the RCA family in 1929. - Wikimedia Commons

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Photo Credit: GraphicStock
Photo Credit: GraphicStock

Yesterday, aside from a bit of a rant about paid choirs in churches, I started to answer the question, why do we sing in church.

The main reason for the singing we do in church is because God inhabits praise, and one of the main reasons for gathering in the first place is the presence of the Father.

Don’t misunderstand me please. I know church is about more that seeking the presence of God. We meet together to make disciples, to sharpen one another, love one another and do all those other wonderful one anothers.

Most churches call what they do on Sunday mornings a worship service, so it should be safe to assume there is at least an underlying desire for the presence of Father in our gatherings.

We saw yesterday that this is the main reason we sing, to enter His presence.

The second reason is almost a corollary to the first.

When the Father is present the word has more of an ability to transform us.

I would never take away from the ability of the eternally anointed Word of God to transform men and women in a vacuum. But as God inhabits our praises, and allows us through His gates and into His courts, His Spirit is better able to quicken our hearts to His word. [Tweet This]

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. - 1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

The Word of God left to the natural mind can create Pharisees while the Word of God in the hands (or voice) of the Spirit of God transforms men from brute beasts to supernatural soldiers.

It is the expressed mission of the Spirit to, well –

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 NASB

and

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. - John 16:13 NASB

And all this stirring – this quickening – this anointing comes when we enter the presence of the Lord.

Back to church-

We sing praises and adoration - it ushers us into the presence of the Lord. We open the Word of the Lord in His presence and our eyes are opened.

It’s a great plan.

It works at home too – take some time to seek the face of the Father as you ready your mind and Spirit to open His word.

Lord – you are magnificent – your deeds are past finding out. Open our eyes to your wonderful Word today.

BN Writers Page 150See you again soon

Ben

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photo credit: AlbinoFlea via photopin cc
photo credit: AlbinoFlea via photopin cc

Sunday afternoon musing

While listening to a podcast yesterday at Fire on your head

David Edwards the co-host said something about God always sending thoughts and ideas our way, and it got me thinking about one of the most precious passages in the Bible, Psalm 139:

Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee. ~ Psalm 139:16-18

I got thinking that rather than things about us occurring to God as we run into circumstances, what if God in His vast foreknowledge has, before He knit us, before He molded us in our mother’s wombs, thought His thoughts and wrote His book. What if those thoughts are available to us by plugging into the Spirit any time we need them.

Any time we need direction, God’s thought toward us don’t just happen, but are already being broadcast, or sitting ready to be tapped.

Think of it like this. One of my favorite Bible Commentators is Matthew Henry. He wrote in the early 18th century. I sit pondering a passage of scripture, and then go digging in his commentary for some further light.

As I read his work, the light turns on and I get a totally new revelation (to me) about the Bible. It happens to be something Matthew Henry wrote in 1709, but I just tuned in 300 years after the fact.

It was there for the taking. My dad had a set of these commentaries that he bought before I was born, so any day in my life I could have gotten this “new” idea from the good old MHC.

So it is with God’s knowledge of us and what we will be needing.

The One Who formed us, Who knows our end from our beginning, Who knows every possible consequence of every possible choice we could make, has thought about these things and written them in His book about us.

And He has not locked that book away so we can not get to it. It is available to be checked out of His library any time.

We simply need to plug in.

I am convinced this is how Jesus lived. Daily communing with the Father, senses tuned to hear His voice and His council as He walked the paths of Galilee.

God is not perplexed by your circumstances. He knows you and would be glad to share some great ideas with you.

So turn down the noise in your life that drowns out His voice, grab that volume from His library shelf, and settle in for a good read.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

This is a big deal. It’s HUGE:

But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.” ~ Matthew 8:8

How are things accomplished in this kingdom? I am talking about this kingdom where Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this Kingdom of Heaven that is entered by faith in Christ, this Kingdom of God.

Words.

Words are the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Perhaps I am selling it a bit short here. Not simply words, not just any words, this kingdom runs on words of faith.

Don’t get me wrong here. Faith results in actions.

But understand this:

Faith filled words,
words filled with expectation
words filled with hope

set heaven’s gears turning.

Angels move at the sound of His voice.

Oceans obey His voice.

The universe was created by a grand heavenly voice filled eager expectation.

His voice, the voice of God, the words of God, the Word of God, is the most powerful force, the most powerful substance, the most powerful being in the universe.

And He wants you to speak.

Faith filled words,
words filled with expectation
words filled with hope

to set heaven’s gears into motion.

As you set your affections on Him, and begin to speak His words, the words He puts in your heart, the words He speaks in your soul, as you agree with Him, and let your (His) words flow, your world will be moved, your universe will come under heaven’s influence.

BenCome back tomorrow for the flip side.

See you then.

Ben

Walking with Jesus

One of the main reasons I write is to encourage folks in their walk with Jesus. For centuries the Christian faith was turned into a professional matter, where the priests and pastors, and those with the credentials and initials at the end of their names would simply tell those of us in the pews how to live.

We have looked to the pros, and said, ‘you go to the mountain and get a word from God for me.’

But the Bible tells us time and again this is not God’s plan for us.

In the promise of the New Covenant prophesied by Ezekiel we read:

I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. ~ Ezekiel 36:26-27

Of this Spirit (His Spirit, the Holy Spirit) Jesus said:

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you. ~ John 16:13-15

The book of Hebrews opens with a wonderful description of Jesus, in effect telling us that, though the revelation we received from the prophets and priests of the Old Testament was good and valuable, we now have the ability to gaze directly on Jesus, and receive clear revelation of the Almighty for which our hearts had yearned.

The key bit of advise the writer to the Hebrews gives us when encouraging his readers to endure, his big how to can be summed up in the phrase “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2)

So that’s exactly what I intend to do here at AnotherRedLetterDay.com. I am going to be like a fly on the wall of Jesus’ locker room, following Him from place to place, looking at what He does and what He says.

This is how we will learn to live the Christian Life God intended for us. This is how we will find those – "good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Are you in for a hike up and down the Jordan with me?

BenGreat – We leave tomorrow at 6:00 am EDT.

See you then.

Ben

 

Oh yeah, don't forget to leave your questions about the Bible or Christian life here:

Another Red Letter Day Q&A

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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