1 Thess 5:16 Rejoice evermore!
In order to rejoice, I must know whose hands I’m in!
The Psalmist proclaimed, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. That means that the hands of the Lord are what forms every day, good or bad and that in order to rejoice I must know who’s hands I’m in!
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan's hands is worth about $33 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A baseball in my hands is worth about $6. And is good for deterring would be thieves.
A baseball in Mark Mcguire's hands is worth $19 million.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A tennis racket is useless in my hands. More like a big boys fly swatter!
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras' hands is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal or poke me in the eye!
A rod in Moses' hands will part the mighty sea.
It depends whose hands it's in.
A slingshot in my hands is! a kid's toy and a good way to break a window!
A slingshot in David's hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it's in.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands is a couple of fish sandwiches and a lunch I’m probably not going to share. Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God's hands will feed thousands. It depends whose hands it's in.
Nails in my hands might produce a couple of framed walls But,
Nails in Jesus Christ's hands will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it's in.
As you can see now, it all depends on whose hands it's in. And all you have to do today is put your concerns, your worries, your fears, your hopes, your dreams, your families and your relationships in God's hands because...
It all depends whose hands it's in!
Heard it from an Old Cowboy!
You are holy and unblameable and unre-proveable in His sight!
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unre-proveable in his sight:
The world believes that reproof is the way of reconciling things. This philosophy plays out in our everyday life and even in some circles of Christianity. We think that if we can reprove those who have hurt us that it will bring resolve and closure to the circumstances that hurt us to begin with. In many cases related to reconciliation amongst the religious it can become awards based on the performance of the individual who needs reconciliation and is often based on merit before it is provided. Contrast these philosophies with the models in scripture for reconciliation and you will discover polar opposites to what we see in the Kingdom of this world.
The Kingdom Cowboy Perspective that we are given in scripture implies that reconciliation has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Christ and the work of the Cross.
I love western settings and the ranching way of life. I have always wanted more of it and there is much less of it in my life than I have aspired to achieve., However, recently I have discovered that my story is actually the epitome of one of the oldest wrangler functions of all time… Roping!
Have you ever wondered or strayed like a calf or young steer? I would venture to say that we all have. All of us have been wounded, estranged, alienated, distanced, or have felt perpetually reproved by the herd. It is not only part of our story but it can leave us stuck in a mud hole or hobbled like we just threw a shoe. Anytime we have a wrong perspective on what reconciliation truly is, we will look first for reproof and resolve, never becoming truly satisfied through the reconciliation provided by Christ on the Cross of Calvary.
So what is the Wrangler way of reconciliation? Simply put, it is Col 1:19-22.
First, All things are reconciled to Him, through Him, and by Him. There is no mention of you or I anywhere in the text. No rules, steps, pre-qualifications, and nobody else involved in the peace process except for Christ and the blood he shed on the Old Rugged Cross. I didn’t even have to convince Christ that I needed to be reconciled. It’s like He already knew!
Christ is the ultimate wrangler and roper!
The Greek Wrangler word for Reconcile is “apokatallasso.” The first part of this Western style word is “apo” meaning any kind of separation of one thing from another by which union or fellowship is destroyed. It is physical distance of time and place. I guess my best example of it would be like a stray steer or heifer!
The second part of this Wrangler word is “katallasso” it would be the equivalent of lassoing a stray back into the favor of the herd, literally at the expense of trading one life for another. Let that sink for a minute!
This is what Christ does as the greatest Wrangler of all time. He didn’t just wrangle us in, He exchanged His life for ours. He paid the ultimate price to rope me in! Furthermore, He did it for the stray steer not the prize bull! Talk about a love knot in the lariat!
We have been completely returned to favor with God through the work of Christ. When we were away from Him, caught in the snare of the enemy, and wandering away, Jesus saddled up and with lasso in hand, He pulled us back into the fold when we were shut out from fellowship and intimacy. he loved us while we were yet wandering steer's!
So here is is this Cowboy's two cents about reconciliation. You are no longer reproved. You are reconciled into the body of His flesh. You wear the brand that came by the Cross, through His death, and He presents you now as holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight! Quite the Roper isn't He?
You who was once separated, allow yourself be roped back into perfect fellowship with Him! Wear the brand that nobody can remove from you, the brand that nobody else can provide for you. Reconciliation by Christ cost Him everything but He roped you anyway!
But Maybe That’s A Good Thing!
Day three of my recuperation from knee surgery has me contemplating many different things. (It’s not the drugs Just for the record!). The Lord has a way of bringing clarity to those who position themselves to wait on Him especially if you have desire for a work of the Spirit and you are becoming a person who anticipates the fullness of His Spirit as you walk in simple faith with Him. Regardless of whether or not this kind of pause and positioning in life are intentional and purposed or they are imposed like the recuperation process I am presently going through, God is faithful to teach us and grow us up through either posture or process but, that doesn’t mean you are going to always get what you want! One thing that I am learning is that all too often; pain, setbacks, weakness, inability to see what is ahead, are all the venues that the Lord has a tendency to show Himself strong in while at the same time He shapes us to be a perfect fit into the valleys that we go through so that we can be salt and light in difficult times. Post- Surgery I was optimistic that I was going to be breaking all the records for recovery. Raising the bar for other potential candidates of knee surgery! Day 3 has come and my resurrection has been postponed! What the Lord is teaching me in all of this is that He died and was resurrected so that I wouldn’t have to and so that none of us would be able to take any credit for what only He alone could do!
It’s funny how the Lord can position us in such a way so that when we are in our deepest need or things are toughest, He can turn the light on so to speak and reveal to us what His desires are for our life, along with what He wants us to learn, and what is important for us to understand in the process of shewing forth His Manifest Glory, and not ours! I have been able to reflect on how I view the world and how sometimes what I want is in conflict with what I need. I thought about how much stress I often create for myself by fixating on what I think I want instead of focusing on the things my mind, body and spirit need. I realized that if I stop chasing the things that I feel I should have, I won’t set myself up for disappointment when I don’t get them. It is becoming my belief that if I stop believing that something ought to be a certain way, I won’t be unfulfilled if it turns out differently than what I expected. Maybe the things that God has for me are better than the things I want anyway,! Maybe, building a sense of entitlement only hinders me from recognizing it.
Have you ever said to yourself. “I can’t just not go after the things I want in life because isn’t that what drive is all about anyway. If I don’t have drive, I won’t accomplish anything; if I don’t accomplish anything in life, I won’t be happy.” Thankfully, the more I grow in the Lord, those moments of panic become more brief and I realize that kind of thinking is incorrect. The Holy Spirit is faithful to bring a rush of calm when I am postured to tune in to Him. As it falls over me it is as if the God of this universe is gently telling me, “relax, I’ve got this!” He tells me to let go, and to trust that everything will be okay just rest in Me! Your personal drive and ambition may have gotten you far in life but, “how often have you tried to force a square peg in a round hole because you went after something you wanted just to say you achieved it? “ Or, “How often have you come up empty when I wasn’t the Author and Finisher of the direction you were going?”
Those thoughts sink in deeper as I consider how my actions can impact my kids, grandchildren, wife, family and those the Lord has given me. We can all remember experiences where If we look back there are situations where we wanted something for ourselves or someone else and the results were not what we expected. Or, we had a goal to make something happen because we wanted it, not because others did. That really makes us stop and think about whether or not our motives are in sync with His!
Wet can all understand the feeling when moments we thought were going our direction, build up and then fall flat on their face. Much like the process with my knee. Will I have a closer relationship with Christ if I stop worrying about the things I want and instead focus on what I really need and long for which is Him and the work that He has done?” The answer is a resounding… Yes!
All I know right now is that the Lord has given me the down time to try this on. In the process I will be learning to be better satisfied with His timing, His Flow, His perfect rest, and trust that He that is doing the work in me and for me because, when it comes down to it, the work is done! It is Finished! And although the finished results may look different in each of us, It still has the look of the Finished work of the Cross and the look of 3 days and a resurrection for those who walk in simple faith and who simply abide in what he is doing!
Allow me to give you the simple equation again! The work is done so, rest in it, and wait for it. This is the Simple walk of Faith that manifests his glorious resurrection in our lives.
Food for Thought!
Such tremendous power in restoration!
Galatians 6:1-2 (KJV)
1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
After having gone through this process personally, because of my own need for restoration along with the almost 7 years It has taken to see it play out. I have learned many things from my personal story and by the grace of God have a completely different perspective on matters of restoration.
First let me state my personal perspectives on what restoration should never look like.
Don’t Ignore the “lest thou also be tempted,” part!
Here are some of the good things I have seen in the process of my personal restoration. They have forever changed my thinking.
Food for Fought!
My how we have strayed from the New Covenant!
I’ve watched very closely and it seems to me that every moment, of every day provides some new method, some new covenant, some new inside edge on what to believe or how to belong. It seems to me that everyone has the inside edge on everything but Christ and Him Crucified. They will tell you that there is always more to it than just a simple walk of faith and resting in the promised seal of His Spirit for everyday living. It reminds me that anything that adds performance or work to the intended rest we are to walk in under the New Covenant, eventually dries up and dies!
Big Word "Ecclesiology" Explained!
It is the study of the Christian Church and the origins of Christianity however, sometimes it stops short in relationship to Jesus. Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of ecclesiology, the doctrines of the Church and how it operates in the lives of God’s people when it is a response to the work that He is doing in us and not just another millstone around the necks of His children. In Fact, a good understanding of ecclesiology is like saying sic’em to a dog when it comes to fulfilling our part in the body of Christ. We have been given scriptural mandates as a body of believers to be a place of comfort and compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3-7), a place where encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11) helps God’s people grow in knowledge and faith (1 Corinthians 14:3, 31), all for the glory of God.
As an individual member of the Body of Christ, He gives us all responsibilities within the local body.
Side note, but an Important one!
If God has moved on you to sign contracts, be committed to other covenants, and you belong to something you deeply care about then put this article down now. It is not intended to draw lines in the sand, or to cause division in the Body of Christ. I am a firm believer that He who began a work in each of us is faithful to complete it and that it may look differently for you than it does for me. I don't know how He is doing it but He promises to bring us all into the Unity of the Faith. Suffice it to say however, God has laid it on my heart to share the Good News that Christ made things very simple for one and all. Some in the Body of Christ tend to make it more difficult than it needs to be. They do it by burying the purposes of the church and responsibilities of its members beneath rules that have nothing to do with the church’s mission. It is then implied that there are other covenants and agreements to be made with men or the local church.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
1 John 4:1.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The problem with man's covenants is that they are often unbiblical, unneeded, do not bring unity, and alienate others.
The Old Testament is full of covenants God made with his people: Edenic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic. If those aren’t familiar to you, don’t worry. The point is that God makes covenants – a type of binding promise – with his people. Today we live under the new and lasting covenant Jesus established. It had been promised in prophecy centuries before.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:31-32.)
Under this New Covenant, God enables you to know him intimately.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34.)
This is the promise Jesus brought to reality through his death and resurrection. I imagine his friends couldn’t help but recognize Jeremiah’s prophecy when, the night before his death, Jesus said to them at the Passover dinner:
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. (Luke 22:20.)
This is the covenant God has with his people.
You are part of the body of Christ organically, that is, the Body of Christ is a single organism. Here are a few ways the Bible describes Christ’s body:
Every single one of those ways of looking at our place in the body of Christ – the church – is dependent on our relationship with Jesus, not with one another. And it is because of our relationship with Jesus that we are in relationship with one another. Your relationship with Jesus is under the new covenant that Jesus described to his disciples. It is the new relationship God promised he would create with his people. And this new covenant with God is the only one that counts.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25.)
God’s covenant with you leads to fellowship with others who are also in covenant with him. These are the relationships firmly supported by the Bible. And it’s all based on God’s covenant with you, not some extra-biblical covenant with other Christians, Clubs, Denominations, etc. After all, God’s the one who keeps covenants and promises perfectly, so let’s leave the covenanting up to him.
1 As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Why is this so important to our understanding!
I run into a lot of folks who are constantly being taught to strive for more. These folks are bound up like a hound Dog trying to pass a peach pit! To me, this is like trying to catch a bus you’ve already caught! It is especially important for those of us who have been freed from religiosity to understand because we have leaned on dispensationalism and old covenants in the past. They became a hindrance to our understanding of the complete work of the New Covenant that Christ established because they are always packed with the emphasis on personal performance. I don’t know about you but the enemy tries to distract me enough from the perfect rest that comes in the finished work of the cross as it is. So, let’s take a fresh look at where we are at in this dispensation, right now as we are walking with and in Him.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy