Let His light In

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a Crack in everything

That’s how The Light gets in.

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A great book

30 prayers for my current situation by Michele Brown                                                                

I have just finished reading this new book–First impression— it is high energy, written from a heart that has endured much affliction. The book has many facets that are a great and powerful testimony to the life given to prayer and the two-way street, so many folks miss out on in daily life. To use a quote from Michele :” The righteous cry and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their trouble. Psalm 34:7.   Little by little, I began to cry out my problems to God and thank Him in advance for whatever He was going to do to help me through. That is my new PINCH-POINT reaction. Not frustration, not discouragement or depression, not calling a bunch of people to recite the problem… oh no, I go to the Problem Solver”. A thirty day journey building on the relationship she has and you can have. I highly recommend this book.

BTW. this book is available at Amazon books.

Why Jesus Compared Unforgiveness To the Sycamine Tree

Why Jesus Compared Unforgiveness To the Sycamine Tree

If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed,
ye might say unto this sycamine tree,
Be thou plucked up by the root,
and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
– 
Luke 17:6

In Luke 17:1-6, Jesus taught His disciples about bitterness and unforgiveness and about how to remove these evil forces from one’s life. As an illustration, Jesus likened these forces to the sycamine tree that was so well known in that part of the world. The word “sycamine” comes from the Greek word sukaminos, and it is the Greek word that refers to a tree that grew throughout the Middle East.

When you understand everything that is connected to the sycamine tree, you’ll know exactly why Jesus chose to use this tree as an example of bitterness and unforgiveness in Luke 17:6. In that verse, Jesus told His disciples, “…If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Notice that Jesus said, “…Ye might say unto this sycamine tree…” The word “this” indicates that Jesus was pointing out something very specific to them.

Keep in mind that Jesus was speaking of getting rid of bitterness and unforgiveness. In Luke 17:3, He told the disciples that they needed to forgive those who sinned against them. He then took it to the maximum in Luke 17:4 by saying that even if a brother does something wrong seven times in one day and is each time truly repentant, they were to keep on forgiving that offending brother.

Forgiving once is already a challenge for most people. But to forgive someone seven times in one day almost sounds impossible to many folks. It must have sounded preposterous to the disciples as well, for they said, “…Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). This statement was the equivalent of their saying, “Lord, we don’t know if we have enough faith to forgive so many times in one day. You’ll have to increase our faith if we’re going to do this seven times in one day!”

That is when Jesus began to teach His disciples about speaking to bitterness and unforgiveness. He said, “…If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree.…” When Jesus used the word “this,” it was the equivalent of Jesus’ telling them, “Bitterness and unforgiveness are just like the sycamine tree – and if you really want to be free of these attitudes, you can speak to this menacing growth in your life and command it to be planted in the sea!”

Before we can understand what Jesus taught about getting rid of bitterness and unforgiveness, we first need to see why He used the sycamine tree to illustrate these destructive forces. Was there a particular reason why He didn’t use an oak tree, an apple tree, or a palm tree in this illustration? Why did He use the sycamine tree to symbolize the detrimental effects of bitterness and unforgiveness in a person’s life?

Sycamine Tree

As you look at the characteristics of the sycamine tree listed below, I believe you will compre­hend why Jesus used this particular tree in this context.

  1. The sycamine tree had a very large and deep root structure.

The sycamine tree was known to have one of the deepest root structures of all trees in the Middle East. It was a vigorous and robust tree that grew to a height of thirty feet or more. Because its roots went down so deep into the earth, it was very difficult to kill. Hot weather and blistering temperatures had little effect on this tree because it was tapped into a water source down deep under the earth. Even cutting it to its base would not guarantee its death because its roots, hidden deep under the ground, would draw from underground sources of water, enabling it to keep resurfacing again and again. In other words, this tree was very difficult to eradicate.

No wonder Jesus used this tree as an example of bitterness and unforgiveness! Like the sycamine tree, bitterness and unforgiveness must be dealt with clear to the roots, or they will keep springing up again and again. The roots of bitterness and unforgiveness go down deep into the human soul, fed by any offense that lies hidden in the soil of the heart. That hidden source of offense will cause these evil forces to resurface in a person’s life over and over again. It will take a serious deci­sion for that person to rip those roots of bitterness and offense out of his heart once and for all so they can’t grow back in the future.

  1. The sycamine tree’s wood was the preferred wood for building caskets.

In Egypt and the Middle East, the sycamine tree was considered to be the preferred wood for building caskets and coffins. It grew quickly and in nearly any environment, making it accessible in many different places. It also grew best in dry conditions – the kind of conditions for which the Middle East is famous. These are two reasons sycamine wood was used in so many places for building caskets and coffins.

Again, we can see why this illustration of the sycamine tree is so ideal for portraying bitterness and unforgiveness. Just as the sycamine tree grew very quickly, so does bitterness and unforgiveness. In fact, it doesn’t take too long at all for these evil forces to get out of control and start taking over the whole place! When these fast-growing and ugly attitudes can grow freely, they not only spoil the condition of your own heart, but they ruin your relationships with other people.

Also, just as the sycamine tree grew easily in every environment, so does bitterness. It doesn’t matter where people are from, where they live, what kind of cultural background they grew up in, or what level of society they belong to – bitterness and unforgiveness grow in human hearts every­where, for they are universal in their scope of evil influence.

The sycamine tree grew best where little rain fell and water was sparse. Isn’t this just like bit­terness and unforgiveness? These negative attitudes flourish where spiritually dry conditions exist. You can almost count on finding bitterness and unforgiveness growing and blossoming where there is no repentance, no joy, and no fresh rain of the Spirit.

And don’t forget that sycamine wood was the preferred wood for building caskets and coffins. What a powerful message this is! It tells us that bitterness and unforgiveness are deadly. Harboring bitterness will spiritually bury you more quickly than anything else! These attitudes are the materials that Satan uses to put you six feet underground!

Let me stress this point to you because it’s so important: If you permit bitterness and unforgive­ness to grow in your life, it won’t be long until these attitudes have killed your joy, stolen your peace, and canceled out your spiritual life!

  1. The sycamine tree produced a fig that was very bitter to eat.

The sycamine tree and the mulberry tree were very similar in appearance; the two trees even produced a fruit that looked identical. However, the fruit of the sycamine tree was extremely bitter. Its fruit looked just as luscious and delicious as a mulberry fig. But when a person tasted the fruit of the sycamine fig, he discovered that it was horribly bitter.

Mulberry figs were delicious and therefore expensive. Because of the cost of this fruit, it was primarily eaten by wealthier people. But the sycamine fig was cheap and therefore affordable to poorer people. Because the poor couldn’t afford the luscious mulberry fig, they munched on the sycamine fig as a substitute.

However, the sycamine fig was so bitter that it couldn’t be eaten whole. To consume an entire sycamine fig, the eater had to nibble on it a little bit at a time. After a pause, the eater would return to nibble on it again, but he could never devour a entire piece of this fruit at one time; it was just too tart and pungent to eat at one sitting.

Jesus lets us know that like the sycamine fruit, the fruit of bitterness and unforgiveness is bitter, tart, and pungent. Like the fig, most people who are bitter and filled with unforgiveness chew on their feelings for a long time. They nibble on bitterness for a while; then they pause to digest what they’ve eaten. After they have reflected deeply on their offense, they return to the memory table to start nibbling on bitterness again – taking one little bite, then another little bite, then another. As they continue to think and meditate on their offense, they internalize their bitter feelings toward those who have offended them. In the end, their perpetual nibbling on the poisonous fruit of bit­terness makes them bitter, sour people themselves.

And just as the primary consumers of the sycamine fruit were poor people, those who sit around and constantly meditate on every wrong that has ever been done to them are usually bound up with all kinds of poverty. Their bitter attitude not only makes them spiritually poor, but they are also frequently defeated, depressed, sick, and financially poor as well.

  1. The sycamine tree was pollinated only by wasps.

It is very interesting to note that the sycamine tree was not naturally pollinated. The pollina­tion process was only initiated when a wasp stuck its stinger right into the heart of the fruit. Thus, the tree and its fruit had to be “stung” in order to be reproduced.

Think of how many times you have heard a bitter person say: “I’ve been stung by that person once, but I’m not going to be stung again! What he did hurt me so badly that I’ll never let him get close enough to sting me again!” It is likely that people who make such a statement have been “stung” by a situation that the devil especially devised to pollinate their hearts and souls with bitterness and unforgiveness. When a person talks like this, you can know for sure that the wasp of bitterness got to them!

Jesus said that to rid this nuisance from one’s life, a person must have faith the size of “a grain of mustard seed.” The word “grain” is the Greek word kokkos. It describes a seed, a grain, or a very small kernel. Jesus uses the example of a “mustard” seed in this example. The word “mustard” is the Greek word sinapi, which refers to the small mustard plant that grows from a tiny, miniscule seed.

By using this word, Jesus was telling His disciples that a great amount of faith is not needed to deal with bitterness and unforgiveness. Any person who has even a tiny measure of faith can speak to bitterness and unforgiveness and command them to leave – if that is really the desire of his heart.

So, what is your desire today, friend? Do you genuinely wish to be free from the bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense that has festered in your soul for so long? Are you ready to rip those destructive roots clear out of your heart so they won’t be able to resurface in your life again? Are you tired of those detrimental attitudes killing your joy, stealing your peace, and nullifying your spiritual life? If so, be sure to read tomorrow’s Sparkling Gem so you can find out exactly how to permanently eradicate these attitudes from your life!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, thank You for speaking to my heart about getting rid of bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense. I know from experience that these attitudes are a killer to my spiritual life. When I am filled with bitterness and unforgiveness, I become a sour hostage to my memories. When I am consumed with offense, I lose my joy and peace and my relationships with other peo­ple are horribly affected. I thank You for giving me all the faith I need to deal with this issue, Lord. Today I am asking You to help me start the process of ripping those foul roots out of the soil of my heart and soul.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I genuinely wish to be set free from bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense. I am weary of the way these poisonous roots have produced their deadly fruit in my life for so long. I am ready to do whatever is required to rip those roots clear out of my heart so they won’t be able to resurface in my life again. By the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority God has given me, I repent of these detrimental attitudes that have been killing my joy, stealing my peace, and nullifying my spiritual life. By faith I am walking free from these enemies of my soul.

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

Ouch!

This blog will be down for while.

My wife took a fall and broke both wrists, her left wrist was operated on two weeks ago, yesterday they operated on her right one. This blog will be down for awhile as i become her C.N.A

 

Is there any net worth in serving?

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

Becoming like Jesus means becoming servant-hearted. Some may seek to do miracles, but Jesus did not say His first work was that. Some desire recognition, or to exercise the power Jesus functioned in, but He did not say His purpose was to display His power.

Jesus said His primary purpose was that He came to serve—to serve and seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He came to serve as an example of humility and self-sacrifice (John 13:14,15); even now, He continues to serve as our intercessor, praying to the Father on our behalf (Rom. 8:34).

The primary call to the church is to secure and multiply Jesus’ model of servant-hood by creating an atmosphere and ministry emphasis that produces servants (Eph.4:12). The ability and opportunity to serve are gifts from God; and true growth, when it is pure, will produce the fruit of service.

The Divine Dance

The Great, Almighty God, the infinite Creator of the universe, takes great delight and unsurpassed joy from our relationship with Him.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).

God is quietly contented in His love for every person on the planet. Someone once said that if God had a refrigerator our picture would be on it and if He had a wallet our photo would be in it. He longs for people to feel the peace of His presence, the beating of His heart next to theirs.

In Hebrew, the word ‘rejoice’ contains the suggestion of “dancing for joy,” or “leaping for joy,” since the verb originally meant “to spin around with intense motion.”

The word for ‘singing’ in this verse is more like a shout of rejoicing, or loud cheering in triumph. It describes the kind of joyful shouting at the time of a great victory. The picture portrayed is of a God who dances over His beloved people with singing and loud shouts of joy. Can you fathom the Author of joy, the Creator God, spinning around wildly, dancing a jig, and breaking out into singing as the pleasure of heaven is expressed over you!

The early Greek church had a word for this perichoresis. Notice our word “choreography” within it. It means literally to “dance or flow around.” 

When was the last time you danced with Jesus.

Disintegration of Character

The syndrome of chronic moral debility

We live in a morally debilitated and degenerate world resulting in the disintegration of character. Decadence is on the increase. The line between morality and immorality has been blurred so much that most people can no longer distinguish one from the other. Society has engendered such a sharp inversion of values that it has absurdly considered this to be a culturally and modern advance.

The worst part is that this is entering into the church and contaminating it. People who accept chronic moral debility allow themselves to be conformed to the immoral circumstances that routinely confront them. They end up conforming to the ungodly values of the present age.

In many churches growth has been accompanied by worldliness due to disintegration of the character of Christ in their respective leaderships. To the detriment of the ethics of character, the ethics of personality, which ignore and violate the basic principles that rule the spiritual world, leave many believers at the mercy of satanic bonds. The problem is that ignorance does not exempt us from the consequences and punishment of breaking the law.

A lifestyle wrapped up in moral ignorance gives place to social chaos when we become indulgent with sin calling it “weakness”. It begins with tolerance of sin, continues with collusion, then comes insensibility and finally a damaged conscience, which compromises the foundation of life. Sin becomes a comfortably natural routine.

In this generation where society subject’s true laws and values to relativity, the collusion with moral weakness has placed the message and integrity of the church in checkmate. The avalanche of emotional problems that are debilitating modern society is nothing more than a symptomatic collateral effect of the moral disintegration of a passive “prosperity”.

Some people think that certain debilities are part of their personality. Many people, some of which are Christian workers, leaders and pastors, have embraced their moral weakness as an evangelical vice, and are trying to convince God that they were born morally weak, but that’s the way they are and there’s nothing they can do about it.

However, the truth is that this spiritual debility produces ungodliness and evil. This lack of moral strength gives place to the devil, profaning the work of God and bringing on scandals and destruction.

Defining defeat due to the disintegration of character

What is defeat? From the perspective of approval, we can quickly define defeat as “a cyclic life of reproof”. A vicious cycle is any evil dynamic or situation to which we feel obligated to return.

When someone faces a situation of testing and fails, he or she will be obligated to return to the same type of situation. Each time that we go through a test and we fail to pass it, we have to go through it again.

This obligatory return to the point of defeat defines the law of the test, from which no one escapes. Through repeated confrontations with this law, either a character of obedience or an alternative moral failure eventually emerges.

However, the draining dynamic of having to return routinely to the same situation, to which we subject ourselves repeatedly, begins to build a picture of defeat. In other words, whenever we take a test we fail! Therefore, we take the test again and we fail again! We repeat the test and suddenly we fail again! Each time the test defeats us more easily and we become convinced that we are a failure. It is just as Jesus declared:Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34)

We feel defeated and without hope. This has become a periodic cycle in the lives of many people, leading them to spiritual disintegration, apathy and apostasy.

In this way, the specific points of testing become oppressive internal giants, building up fortresses that we are convinced are impenetrable. We must learn from David to leap over these walls and overcome these enemies.

The Bible tells us how Goliath, the most famous Philistine hero, challenged any man of the armies of Israel to face him in personal combat. Each day he came at the same time and repeated his humiliating and psychologically crushing challenge to all:

And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening. (1 Samuel 17:16)

This represents a cold and calculated strategy, in which the enemy plants a mentality of defeat. Each warrior of Israel had to tolerate two challenges per day. They were defeated each morning and each afternoon every day! Goliath imposed a cyclic process of personal and collective reproof simultaneously.

Because of the terrible challenges of the giant, day after day, each warrior had to accept failure through their cowardice. That became a humiliating routine, destroying the self-esteem of each man of Saul’s army. This represents more than a defeat, it was a massacre!

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. (1 Samuel 17:24)

Each of Goliath’s public challenges imposed a deep sense of impotence that immobilized each soldier of Israel. Not only were they already accustomed to the situation of defeat, but also, they were totally intimidated, desperate and terrified. This lasted 40 days without interruption, until God sent David. We have here a true picture of spiritual defeat.

This episode reveals what happens in many people’s lives. When they are in the church, with all of the members, they appear to be ready for anything. They pray, worship, preach and zealously testify. However, personally, alone before their internal giants of anger, impatience with their spouse, pornography, debts … they can’t control themselves, they feel discredited and defeated.

Defining trauma due to the disintegration of character

In the dynamic of this cyclic life of reproof resides the true point where our weaknesses are concentrated. It is impossible to speak of defeat without speaking of trauma. Areas of defeat are also areas of trauma. Each new reproof represents a newly inflicted wound. From this perspective, we can define trauma as “the result of wounds and reproof concentrated at the same point”.

An example of this would-be children roller-skating without kneepads. Years ago, protective equipment was not readily available or at least sought after by children of that generation. The joy and thrill of racing down a hill on roller skates, during a time, supersedes the fear of falling head over heels and smashing up knees and elbows. Only after several falls and multiple wounds on top of wounds does the fear of falling overcome these children’s fun.

This is a good way to describe a trauma: it is when you sustain a wound on top of a wound! The mere thought of someone touching the place that was hurt, causes pain! The terrible fear of being hurt again installs itself, as in automatic defense mechanism.

Psychologically, this point begins to suffer a constant weakening, becoming ever more acceptable to collapse where the structure itself can be broken, like a bone that can be broken, producing permanent damage, or a healing process that takes much longer.

Some people after four or five attempts to enter a college or university, who repetitively fail to pass the entrance exam, permanently give up their professional dreams. Similar types of things happen all around us wherever our abilities are tested. All of this describes most people’s moral and emotional life. The truth is that we can rightly claim that almost everyone has struggled or is struggling with areas of trauma and defeat.

Disintegration of character and the process of deepening a wound

Reiterating, each cycle of reproof imposes a new blow on the wound. The level of pain begins to intensify and deepen each time we are subjected to the same type of test. Wounds are sustained on top of wounds. This picture of defeat works according to a type of “spiral effect” deepening the pain and the roots of the state of reproof.

Morally speaking, we can define the deepness of the trauma as feelings of “shame”. The intensity of the shame and spiritual embarrassment can be determined by the distance between the first and the last reproof.

There is a type of shame that is healthy and promotes decency, however there is another type of shame that is an enslaving feeling that comes as a result of this chronic process of moral debilitation, abuses suffered, losses marked with the feeling of injustice, inferiority and bitterness. As much as we try to flee, that same thing always pursues us and repeats.

Invariably, wherever this type of spiritual shame exists, much fear, guilt and pain also exist. The moral shame that torments our memory establishes the depth that this cycle of chronic reproof has dug into our soul.

Paul insists that it is necessary for us to be before God not only as a worker, but “as a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” It is fundamentally important to deal with this shame of the soul. We must present this same position and disposition of conscience with that which Jesus faced and confronted all of Satan’s ability to accuse:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)

Much thanks to Mr. Rick Spinos.

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