Sometime we just need to remember.
I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands.
Psalms 119:10 NLT
Amazing plea! David is asking God to keep him from doing things that do not please God. Sin in his life. David is saying if you don’t stop me, I will sin. Here David has completely surrendered his soul to God. Without God he has no hope but to live a life of sin.
By his own admission David is saying, I need you Lord. Every second of every day. Do we look at our life like that. When without God, we would turn to sin. Do we feel the need to have God in our life in such a way as it’s life and death. Or that we have found our true love and we are afraid we might disappoint him or worst yet become separated from him and we couldn’t stand that.
I was so astonished this morning when, I heard David’s plea in these scriptures. This is my cry. Lord don’t leave me, or give up on me. Sure, we have Jesus and forgiveness for our sins. Sure we have grace. But do we so love the Lord as he does us, that we want nothing to separate us from his great love. Nothing coming between us.
I pray that we all are pulled closer to the Lord, by his Spirit. That we experience his love for us in such a way that we would not want anything to come between us. That that love would turn into a love for each other. This is what Jesus wants for his children. One in him. Today let there be a change in our hearts , to truly please the Lord, by loving one another in such a way as nothing can come between us.
Much love Tom
Please allow me to share this much needed story with you folks from brother Francis.
Where Is the Disciple’s Cross?
By Francis Frangipane
In our modern era we have a different version of Christianity than that which Christ founded in the first century. Our version secures a hope in the afterlife but does little to change us in the present life. We are still as easily offended and as unloving as those who do not know Christ — and we are certainly just as divisive.
Yes, we marvel at what Christ accomplished at Calvary, but we shrink from what He desires to fulfill in us. We desire His blessings but not His backbone. Because we have diluted the full purpose of Christianity, which is functional conformity to Christ (Eph. 4:24), the power to transform us is likewise diluted. As a result, our leaders fall, marriages fail, and the gospel is reduced to a course on ethics, which we can take or leave since God forgives us anyway.
As awesome as being forgiven is, the Son of God did not lay down His life only to secure our forgiveness; the eternal goal of His sacrifice was to secure our full transformation. Forgiveness is but the first stage of transformation.
Thus, when Paul writes of knowing the “power of [Christ’s] resurrection,” he unites resurrection power with “being conformed to [Christ’s] death” (Phil. 3:10). Conformity to Christ’s death is the purpose of the disciple’s cross; it is the gateway into the resurrection power of Jesus Christ.
The Anthem of the Cross
Why do we not hear more messages about the disciple’s cross? We hear much on inner healing; we know basically how to lead people to Christ. We have even adopted and adapted into our Christian theology terminology from modern psychology — we know when something needs “closure” or the problems associated with “dysfunctional families.”
But when will we discuss the power of Christ’s cross? When will we rediscover the power of the crucified life?
It is not as though the symbol of the cross is absent from our culture; on the contrary. The cross sits majestically on top of our great cathedrals and it adorns our most humble worship centers. It embellishes Bible covers and religious books alike. Not only is it incorporated into the sacred emblem of our many ministries, it is also the insignia for numerous charitable foundations, hospitals, and relief agencies. Row upon row, it stands guard in our cemeteries. It has even become a popular jewelry item, worn by Christians and non-Christians alike.
Yet when was the last time you heard a sermon on the disciple’s cross? Or asked the clerk at the Christian bookstore for the section on carrying the cross? Or when did you last participate in a worship service that included just one song about triumphantly bearing the cross? Apart from a hymn or two, the emphasis on the cross is missing.
Yes, we hear of faith, hope and love; we seek spiritual gifts, blessings and prosperity, but why is there so little emphasis on the disciple’s cross? My goal today is not to expose what is lacking with Christian music or bookstores. From my heart I commend our psalmists for their majestic melodies; their worship songs truly communicate deep and intimate adoration of God. But where is the anthem of the cross? Where are the musical scores that centralize and exalt the very crest of Heaven, the triumphant sign of the Son of Man? When will we hear songs that, like banners, unfurl before the army of God, inspiring us to embrace the life and redemptive path of our crucified King?
In truth, we lack lyrics about the disciple’s cross because we avoid teaching the disciple’s cross. Our minstrels are only writing songs inspired by current theology. The fault lies in the pulpit and with those of us who are Christian leaders. Under the guise of compassion for the weak, we have presented a gospel that’s weak. We present comfort, but not challenge and sympathy without standards.
My friends, let us not deny the weak their comfort nor the infirm their healing, but let us also press toward the full stature of Christ. Jesus said uncompromisingly to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). It is time to get serious with God, to pick up the cross and discover again the power that accompanies a crucified life. The cross is the power of God.
Lord Jesus, for too long I have lived in spiritual immaturity. I have sought to be coddled instead of crucified. With all my heart I desire to become like You, Jesus. Forgive me for being so easily distracted and so addicted to comfort. Hear my heart, O Lord, and restore me to true conformity to You in all things. Amen.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You might consider getting the book This Day We Fight as a companion in developing your warfare posture. http://www.arrowbookstore.com
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I hear the voice of the Spirit calling us home, to Jesus. The sovereign Lord desires that we would rest …
By Francis Frangipane
It is insightful to me that when Luke listed the twelve apostles, when he came to Judas Iscariot, he identified him as the apostle “who became a traitor” (Luke 6:16).
Let me start with a question, a sincere question that may be the most important question you can ask yourself: What are you becoming? Judas Iscariot was an apostle “who became a traitor.” This was a man who had been used mightily by the Lord to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers [and] cast out demons” (Matt. 10:8). Judas knew the excitement, joy and power of personally walking with Jesus. He saw miracles, signs and wonders.
Yet Judas had a serious character flaw, a moral weakness. The Scripture reveals that, despite the fact that God was using him, Judas “was a thief” (John 12:6). He used to pilfer the money box. It is significant, my friend, that Jesus allowed a thief to carry the money box. Sometimes we think the Lord is going to challenge us on every issue, but there are times when His silence about our repeated sin is His rebuke. Judas knew what he was doing was wrong, but since Jesus didn’t directly confront him, Judas minimized the severity of his iniquity. Perhaps he rationalized that if pilfering was truly bad, God would not still be using him to work miracles.
How a little leaven leavens the whole lump! A relatively minor sin that we do not attend to can lead to a major sin that destroys our lives. The Bible says that Judas “became a traitor.” He started out in ministry loyal to Jesus, but then he began lying about the finances until his deceitful exterior completely hid a very corrupt and darkened heart. Judas was a thief who became a traitor, eventually taking his own life. His compromise with sin went from bad to worse and it destroyed him.
Today Christians look at the world and see injustice, immorality and corruption. The anger we feel because of these things is not only understandable, it’s justified. Why shouldn’t we be angry at what we see? Indeed, in many instances we are actually watching hell manifest itself through people and situations in the world!
Knowing we would grieve over the evil in the world, God’s Word tells us, “Be angry, and yet do not sin” (Eph. 4:26). We must discern at what point anger degrades into sin. Paul continues, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” We can be legitimately angry about things that are truly wrong, but our indignation must find a more noble, redemptive attitude of expression.
I do not mean we shrink into passive indifference; I mean we rise into aggressive intercession. We feel the same passions against unrighteousness, but we learn how to pray the mercy prayer: “Father, forgive them.”
I’m thinking of Stephen who while being stoned to death saw Jesus and prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Every time we face an injustice may God give us a fresh revelation of Jesus, that we would not pray for judgment, but for mercy. Out of Stephen’s prayer for mercy, grace was released. It tracked down Saul until Saul too saw Jesus.
You see, when we don’t deal with the anger we feel, if we don’t respond to injustice with mercy and intercession, we soon find ourselves becoming something we never intended. Let me say it again: Judas became a traitor.
Judas mutated from an apostle doing miracles into living a double life. Our anger, left unattended, will do the same to us. It causes us to degenerate into something we never planned on becoming: “Christian Pharisees.” Paul warned about letting the sun set on our anger as though we had just 24 hours at most to deal with issues. I must admit, there are issues in life that have taken me months of wrestling with them before my indignation was lifted and transformed into intercession. So stay with the struggle until you heart is not embittered, but empowered.
Today America is overstocked with angry Christians. What can we do? We must turn indignation into intercession. We must make our heartache work for us, aligning ourselves with Christ in the prayer of redemption – actually praying for those who persecute us.
Thank God, Jesus didn’t look down from the cross at the Pharisees and say, “You need to be taught a lesson. It’s the principle.” No. He prayed, “Father, forgive them.” And then, amazingly, He covered their sin, saying, “They know not what they do.”
The sense of Christian indignation infiltrating the church has not come from Heaven. Don’t dismiss your anger as a little sin; it disqualified Moses from entering the Promised Land! You see, there are things at stake that are bigger than our indignation about right and wrong. The world is watching how we relate to those who are morally wrong, even when we are biblically right. And they are watching to see if we sound like the Savior or like the Pharisees.
Yet there is one thing more crucial than how the world sees us, and that is how Christ sees us. He is watching what is happening to our hearts. He asks each of us a simple question: Do you know what you’re becoming?
Adapted from Francis Frangipane’s book, The Power of One Christlike Life, available atwww.arrowbookstore.com
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