7

I heard a great phrase last week from one of the speakers at a conference I attended. Mark Chironna said we need to slow down to the speed of revelation.

The simple point was that we get fixated on reading through the scriptures. Maybe we have a goal of reading in large chunks every day. I actually saw a website that suggested that if you weren’t reading six chapters of the Bible every day you should not call yourself a Christian. (Legalist much?)

Mark Chironna’s point was that God wants to speak to us through His Word, and if we are just powering through, we’ll miss it. Sometimes we need to slow down and listen.

We need to slow down. Let God speak.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4 ESV

It’s important to understand that this verse does not say every word God wrote in His book, but every word that comes out of His mouth. God speaks today. Much of what He wants you to hear is in His word the Bible, and much of it comes through revelation as we meditate on His written word. Still more comes through our conversations with Him. It must all be poured through His written word, and it must all be measured against our plumb line—Jesus—the Word of God in flesh and bone.

Once more, when we read His Word, we need to slow down. Let Him speak directly to your soul as you mull it over, chew it, swallow it. Drink deeply of the living water. Let His word permeate you. Let it fill you. Let is satisfy you.

Mark shared that the ancients would sometimes sit with one verse for weeks and let it speak.

I remember a couple years back doing that with John 14. I spent almost a year just going back to it over and over again. And today, when I go back there, what I learned in that year is still there, but there is always fresh bread on the table as God continues to feed me from these everlasting words.

cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgThanks for stopping by,

Slow down to the speed of Revelation with me,

Ben

13

Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee"

What do you do with a high fever?

Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. - Luke 4:38-39

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a barren fig tree?

Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" And His disciples were listening. - Mark 11:13-14

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a violent storm on a raging sea?

And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. - Mark 4:37-39

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with an unclean spirit?

When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him,…
…For He had been saying to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" - Mark 5:2, 8

Jesus spoke to it.

Selah

~~~

What do you do with a dead girl?

While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, "Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?”…
... Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). - Mark 5:35, 41

Jesus spoke to her.

Selah

BenThanks for stopping in.

Speak to your mountains today!

Ben

20

How do I get what is in my heart into words? I have been pondering a question that I have heard posed by many for decades, believers and skeptics alike, and somewhere inside of me, the Lord is turning the tables on a huge lie that has derailed many a faith-walk. The question in question: Where was God?

Where was Jesus REMIX (Sunday Special)

When I was hurting, where was God?
When I was abused, where was God?
When all my friends left me, where was God?
When my heart was breaking, where was God?

Have you ever thought any of these things? You are not alone! Are you one of the many who read the “Footprints” poem and think ‘Yeah, Right?’ Hey, don’t get me wrong, I love that, but I am not sure that everyone who has walked through the worst of circumstances felt ‘carried’ through those times when there was only one set of footprints. Sometimes you just feel alone!

I am not sure that my words here will be any better. But there are a few red letters that come to mind as I ponder those ‘one set of footstep moments.’ There are a couple things that Jesus said that I want you to consider next time you are wondering where God was in your darkest moment.

Imagine Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, going around doing amazing things, looking a lot like Jesus. He stands up to preach, and just when he is about to give an altar call, the first rock hits him. One after another, the men he was trying to persuade are hurling fist size stones in his direction. Where is Jesus? (Acts 7)

Imagine James, out there preaching on the street corner with one of his best friends and old fishing buddy Peter. They get arrested, thrown in prison, and Herod has a great idea. Let me make an example of this guy. Where was Jesus? (Acts 12:1-2)

The answer lies in what Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus and what He said to the multitudes in Matthew 25. Jesus asked Paul (whose Hebrew name was Saul) “Why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) Jesus takes the abuse we suffer very seriously. In fact as He said in Matthew 25 “whatever you did (or did not do) for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matt 25:40 & 45) Paul thought he was killing people who hated God, and Jesus reveals Himself and lets Paul know he was actually persecuting the Lord Himself.

I think we read, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20) and think that He will always come between me and trouble when His point is actually that He is suffering right there with you. He promised us trouble in this life. He tells us in John 16:2 people will think they're doing God a favor when the kill you.

So understand this, when you were betrayed or abused, He was betrayed and abused with you. He may not have been carrying you like the poem said – He may have been left bleeding and dying on the Jericho road with you as He watched the good folks walk by BOTH of you. [Tweet This]

My hope is that these red letters will dispel a lie that is keeping you stuck. If it helps, let me know. If it doesn’t, you can tell me that too. I certainly don’t want to make things worse.

Ben NelsonThanks for taking a few minutes to ponder this with me.

Ben

Matthew 5:3
Blessed... 

I want to share with you something off the charts about the word “Blessed.” We toss this word around pretty carelessly. If someone sneezes we say “Bless you!” or if we are real spiritual we might say “Ga bless you!” But this Greek word “Blessed” is pregnant with meaning. If you read the beatitudes in the Amplified Bible you will see the word “Blessed” rendered 14 different ways in these 8 statements. 

  • Happy
  • Blessed
  • To be envied
  • Spiritually prosperous
  • With life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions
  • Enviably happy
  • With a happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace
  • Blithesome (who knows what that means in this day and age – but you get the idea.)
  • Joyous 
  • Fortunate
  • In that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation   
  • Enviably fortunate
  • Possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions.  
  • Enjoying enviable happiness.
  • In the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions.
 Blessing holds Assignment, Ability, and Authority [Tweet ThisFar from being a wish for good luck, a blessing has in it vision, authority and power. We treat our words very lightly these days, and can blow off the power of our words. God spoke the worlds into being and we make off handed comments that hurt others, or destroy our own confidence. Consider the power of blessing:
Creation:  
And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. ~ Gen 1:28-31 
Notice that after He created, He blessed man. This blessing holds in it His expectation for man. “Be fruitfuland multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” It is both blessing and commission or command! But God never expects from us that which is too much for us. He never puts on us burdens we cannot bear.
God’s blessing acts as an assignment or commission. When God gives an assignment is it much more than an errand to run. Think about Nehemiah. When the king sent him to rebuild the walls of the city, the king gave him his blessing and assigned to him the resources, and authority to complete the mission.
God’s blessings grant authority. When God told Adam to subdue the earth, God was telling Adam that he had the authority to rule the earth, all creations was in subjection to Adam at that point. God had given him the authority to rule.
God’s blessing reveals ability. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to subdue the earth if we did not have the capacity. This blessing not only tells us we are called to do this thing, but that He stands behind us and will back us up with power. Adam could fulfill all that God blessed him to do.
As we read the Beatitudes, we will see God’s plan for us – we will receive assignment, authority and ability to be what He calls us to be. What follows is a path leading from man on the street to son or daughter of the King, exercising authority and ability carrying out His assignment.
Ben NelsonThanks for reading.
Come back soon!
Ben

Wheat

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:24, 38 NASB)

Another simple one today – Seed.

The Greek word pretty much preaches itself: the Greek word for seed is sperma.

Here are a couple excerpts from Thayer’s Lexicon (skipping the human seed definitions)

- the seed i.e. the grain or kernel which contains within itself the germ of the future plants
- whatever possesses vital force or life giving power
- of divine energy of the Holy Spirit operating within the soul by which we are regenerated

Seed
Seed

In the last parable – (the Parable of the Soils) the seed was the Word of God planted in us to impregnate us with truth and the life of God.

Boy – that’ll preach brother Ben.

In this parable the good seed are the sons of the kingdom.

So here it is:

  • First the Word of Life – the seed (sperma) of the Lord  - bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life – is planted in your heart
  • You become pregnant – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.
  • Then you (sperma) are in turn planted in the earth - bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.

I love that the Word is seed in me, and I am seed in the world. I am God’s method of bringing that seed (His word – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life) to a lost and dying world.

Are you wiling to be planted?

It does mean you will have to die, so others can have life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24 NASB)

Today is a great day to die! Just think of the new, wonderful, abundant life you will be creating! [Tweet This]

BenThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

Field photo credit: downhilldom1984 via photopin cc

Seed photo credit: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus) via photopin cc

Thayer's Lexicon via BlueLetterBible.org

My friend and travelin' buddy (yay Lakeland 2008) Jenn B. shared this excellent exhortation.

Do not be misled.

Hi everybody :) I come to you today with what I believe is an important message from the Lord!

 Read the message at this link:

Do not be misled. | Growing in Jesus.

Nourishment | Walking with Christ.

My friend Greisy posted this yesterday, and I wanted to share it with you all!

 

Nourishment

But He [Jesus] 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)

I start my days by 1) having breakfast, and 2) reading my Bible. This morning ritual is of most importance to me, and the day I miss it, I feel a certain ache all day long.

Read More: Nourishment | Walking with Christ.

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matt 6:11)

Photo Credit - Jennifer Garcia

Food belongs to today. We need bread daily. This is true in the physical, and in the spiritual. You need to eat daily. I probably don’t need to remind you of this. If your body is functioning properly, it will advise you of this need on a regular basis. And if you neglect food for a while, you will feel the lack of fuel.

My wonderful father-in-law, Don Hayhurst, contends for his blood sugar level, and needs to keep in on an even keel. He always keeps a Snicker’s bar or two with him so he can get a quick sugar hit if he gets in trouble. You can see it all over him when he needs to re-fuel. Things just start to shut down.

I remember a trip to a Disney park with him a few years back. I was sitting across from him and noticed his head drooping a bit. His eyes were at half-mast and he looked ever so sleepy. When we pointed out his sagging condition, he popped one of those mini Snicker’s in his mouth, and the transformation was almost instantaneous.

Your spirit man is the same way. He/she (you) needs fuel. DAILY! You must go to the Word of God daily, and feed on it. Hey – while you’re in the spiritual fridge (your Bible) why not pack something for lunch too [Tweet This] – something you can mull over – a verse – a phrase – something you can snack on when your “blood sugar” begins to wane.

Light snacks are fine, but you also need a good meal or two daily. Sound bites from the Word are not a healthy meal. We have all skipped a meal because we were going to be “grazing” at a party for the afternoon, but that is not a healthy diet. That is like going on Twitter or Facebook and reading inspirational or even scriptural quotes of the day and counting that as your “quiet time.” You need to dig into your Bible and get input from others (remember this is OUR daily bread) and really feed on it.

And don’t forget what I talked about yesterday. The bread you get from the Word is to share. OUR DAILY bread. So, as you feel yourself strengthened by the Word, share a meal with someone near by. They’re probably hungry too.

Thanks for reading today. I appreciate you!

Come back soon!

Ben

Related: I wrote a blog a few weeks ago titled "Bread" you might enjoy.

Thy Name – Matt 6:9

Today we are going to look at Jesus and His Jehovah declarations. Jehovah basically means I AM, and Jesus uses this phrase through his ministry. It is especially apparent when you look at the Gospel of John.

There are those who say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but these are those who do not understand the Jewish culture. This I AM that begins with Moses at the burning bush, and runs throughout the Old Testament (see yesterday’s post) we see Jesus pick up and carry into His ministry.

Yesterday I said that we learn much about the nature and character of God through His name. Today we will look at how much Jesus told us about Himself by using this same form. I AM…

Here are 7 notable I AMs of Jesus in John’s Gospel:

1) John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I AM the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

2) John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

3) John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I AM the door of the sheep.

4) John 10:11 I AM the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

5) John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

6) John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I AM the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

7) John 15:1 I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Then there was this one that made the Jewish leadership crazy:

8) John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.

This really does not need a lot of commentary. It is so clear. Jesus is everything we need, and everything we desire. One of the Old Testament names I have not mentioned is “Desire of Nations” and when I read these verses, I am like – Oh Jesus, I want you more than anything! I will follow You anywhere, because You are worthy! [Tweet ThisWhat can you hear Jesus speak to you as you read His names?

BenThanks for reading today.

Ben

"A Name I Know" by Steve Swanson
"Jesus, Name above all Names" by

Our Father (Matt 6:9)

We start this look at the Lord’s Prayer with one simple word
Our
It is not “My Father” but “Our Father
The Lord Jesus is completely committed to community. [Tweet this] One of the things that so clearly demonstrates this fact is the small phrase “one another.” Below I have listed the one anothers of the New Testament. I would ask you to read through them. You don’t have to do it right now, because there are a lot of them. But some time in the next 24 hours, sit down and read these verses.
You might want to print them out and put them in your Bible. If the Bible says something once, you should pay attention, if it says it twice, that should make your ears perk up. Here are 36 verses, with the phrase “one another” 39 times, and the word love in fully 25 times as well.
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John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brothers here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
James 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
2 John 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.
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OK, how could we possibly obey even a portion of these 39 instructions if we are not sharing our lives with others?
I am not talking about going to Church on Sunday either. I am talking about living in community. Getting together with others. Sharing life, hopes, dreams, fears, successes and failures.
Each of us in Christ needs to be in relationships with those we can walk through life with. Sometimes pulling them along, and sometimes being dragged forward ourselves. No Christian has arrived at the place where he or she no longer needs the body. Christian life does not work the way it is supposed to when we walk alone.
Believe me, I have messed this up more than once in my life. Many of you reading this can probably point out specific times you have seem me do it. I have allowed rigid doctrines or personal preferences or even hurts or slights to separate me from people God was using to speak into my life.
What about you? Are there relationships you need to fix, people you have hurt, or left, who you should reconcile with or you need to forgive? I want to encourage you to take some action on that today. Don’t wait another day!
Is there one of the "one another"s that you would like to see more of in the Church?
Let's talk about it.
Thanks for reading today! I appreciate you.
 Ben