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.

Character Formation

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)We all desire to have a character approved by God. We all want to please God and for that reason, we merely wait to discover the rules before beginning to practice them.

The Christian life is not a mere fulfillment of rules and precepts, because we are no longer under the law. We can sum up the Christian life with the phrase “Christ in you”, or in other words, the Christian life consists of the complete dependence on the Holy Spirit that lives within us. He changes our will and He enables us to do His will. He is all in everything. Jesus is our goodness, our meekness, our justice; he is really everything that we need. Everything that we need is already within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. It would be very easy for us to begin to exert ourselves to fulfill a set of qualities; however, this is not our purpose. Our desire is that you have the revelation of the full supply of God for your life, because to the extent that you understand this, your character qualities will develop naturally. The full supply of God for us is Christ Jesus, who lives within us. He is our life. He is our all in all.

It does no good to speak of character and conduct if we do not yet appropriate the full supply that God has for us: the deliverance from the old man from the power of sin, our justification and our regeneration in Christ, our complete dependence on the Spirit and the walk in the Spirit. We need to appropriate these great spiritual realities but not only that, we need to learn to perceive the direction of God in our spirit, to learn to separate the soul from the spirit, and learn the practice of daily renouncing the ego in the principle of the cross. We must understand all of these experiences in the spirit.

When we over emphasize recommended qualities, we run the risk of establishing a stack of rules that are not in the Bible, such as five steps to overcome wrath, 10 steps to overcome lasciviousness etc. These things do not work and divert us from the center of the Christian life, which is Christ (Colossians 3:4).

Many people think that they can be holy if they can just overcome certain types of sins. Others think that by being humble and gentle they are victorious. Others imagine that by praying and reading the Bible more, being careful to fast and pray that they will attain a holy character. Others have the idea that simply by killing the ego they will be victorious. All of these formulas have the appearance of godliness and sincerity but they are vain and useless. We cannot live the Christian life using 1001 formulas for the most varied problems. In practice, none of this works. What God desires is that we understand that Christ is our life, the perfect supply of God for all of our needs.

With this understanding in mind, we will now study some fundamental principles that will increase our understanding that Christ is in fact our life.

  1. The formation of character through God’s dealings with us

The multiform grace of God enables us with gifts to do certain things that would otherwise be impossible (2 Peter 1:1). God, through Jesus Christ, provides us with His own nature. God has granted us certain divine promises (2 Peter 1:4) and the power of God is our guarantee that He will operate the necessary changes within us (2 Peter 1:3).

Only through an attitude of diligence will we be able to perfect our character. We must make the decision to assume the likeness of Christ, to have within us the maturity of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:10, 11).

The Christian life is a process. We attain it gradually, each step corresponds to a new level reached and a new victory attained in a specific area. We must constantly grow.

God’s responsibility is to provide His own divine nature to every Christian through the repentance of sin and faith in Christ Jesus. Man’s responsibility is to apply all of God’s supply to fulfill this reality in his life.

God has given every believer everything necessary for a holy life as a birthright along with power and authority. The Christian has everything he needs to develop a mature character according to that of Jesus Christ.

  1. Describing the process

We have all been born in iniquity and formed in sin. All of us by birth have a fallen nature that may or may not accompany us for the rest of our lives (Romans 5:12). The fallen nature of man is not in harmony with anything of God.

God has placed before the Christian the goal of perfection (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:40; 1 Peter 1:15). Spiritual maturity is the biblical goal for all those who are in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes man’s carnality does not permit him to develop his character, as the Scriptures require. God definitively treats human nature by the power of the cross, but the ego is the principal reason why man needs the discipline of God. Each Christian needs the discipline of God to motivate him to continue in the direction of spiritual perfection (Hebrews 6:1, 3).

  1. The purpose of discipline

The Christian needs the discipline of God in his life in order to reveal hidden areas that must be transformed (1 John 1:5-7). God desires to reveal these hidden areas of sin in us, but in a way that helps us to grow. The Scriptures affirm that God reveals such secrets (Matthew 10:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 3:13).

God reveals our hidden sins so that He will not have to destroy us and our ministries. God reveals the dark areas that are present within us so that we renounce them. In order for this to happen, the Christian needs the grace of God because the human tendency is to cover up our own faults and weaknesses. Man always attempts to defend himself and to hide the motives of his heart (Genesis 3:8).

God has given His Holy Spirit to the Christian. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the spiritual needs of man, probing the heart of the Christian and pointing to sins that must be abandoned (Psalm 139:23; Proverbs 21:2).

The word “reveal” means to remove the lid and the word “conceal” means to hide, to block the vision of, or to cover up the subject. God tries to remove the covering over man, while man tries everything to retain it.

There are several men in the Scriptures that illustrate the danger of hidden sins. The Scriptures drastically contrast the beginning of their lives with the end of them. They began well but ended up tragically.

Every Christian can start out well. Nevertheless, if they have hidden sins, which they have not confessed and continue practicing without repentance, they will destroy their lives and their ministry.

In the second book of Samuel, David, lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan, called out three times: “How the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19). In this lamentation, David described the “mighty” in the beginning of their ministerial life as beautiful, mighty (verse 19); beloved, pleasant, swifter than eagles and stronger than lions (verse 23); they clothed the daughters of Israel in scarlet and ornaments of gold (verse 24).

Every leader needs to remember that the purpose of the discipline of God is to reveal their heart so that they themselves will not fall. The Bible is full of examples of men who began well, but finished in tragedy, for the very reason that they did not understand the purposes of the testing of God in their lives.

A series on Character by Rick Spinos.

Enter Mr. Charisma…

Character and Gifts.

The majority of Christians tend to value gifts in detriment to character. This distortion of values has assailed the church for centuries. Spiritual gifts are presents that God offers to each Christian without distinction. A gift may be natural or spiritual. Natural gifts are those with which we are born such as: intelligence, astuteness, memory, the capacity to inspire, to sing, to practice sports etc. The Holy Spirit grants spiritual gifts to us as instruments in His work (1 Corinthians 12:7-10). Gifts are very useful, but they are secondary. God places life and character in first place.

Everybody thinks that a certain brother that possesses great intelligence and extraordinary capacity of memorization should become a great preacher. This is a great mistake and is nothing more than human reasoning. God does not edify the church upon these things. If such a brother possesses the life of God, but does not go through the process of the cross, he will be useless for God in spite of His gift.

Another person may think that a brother with the gift of healing and discernment of spirits will automatically become a pillar in the house of God. This also is a mistaken notion. The gifts are useful, but they can never be the basis for the work of building up the church.

This is why there has been so many scandals: because we prioritize gifts over character. The gifts, whether they are spiritual or natural, must pass through the cross before becoming useful. God edifies the ministry through character and not through gifts. God will not send anyone to do anything without first dealing with his character. Gifts attract men but character attracts God.

In the book of Exodus, we find a classic example of the mistake of prioritizing gifts. The Word of God says that Pharaoh was enslaving the people of Israel. Moses was the man who God had chosen to fulfill His purpose. Pharaoh raised Moses in his palace and gave him the best instruction of the times; he was an exceptionally talented man. Moses himself had some understanding of this fact and at one point took it upon himself to free His people from slavery (Exodus 2:11-15). Moses thought that he was capable and perfectly able because he possessed an Egyptian education. God however, not thinking this, put Moses on the shelf for 40 years in the desert of Midian until He could approve his character. From Moses’s natural point of view, he was ready at 40 years of age when he killed the Egyptian; but from God’s supernatural point of view, another 40 years were necessary until he reached the point of no longer trusting in his own strength and talents (Exodus 3:10).

The more that a man trusts in himself and in his natural talents, the less useful he will be to God. God’s criterion is always to choose the one who thinks himself fragile, incapable and disqualified. The glory of God manifests itself when people to whom we attribute no value rise up in power and authority. Then it becomes obvious that God is at work and not simply someone using their special talents.

By Rick Spinos

The Night Before…

THE NIGHT BEFORE JESUS CAME

Twas the night before Jesus Came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were laid on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The Children were dressing to crawl into bed
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the late show while I took a nap.

When out of the east there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angles proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With the light like the sun, sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be The Day.

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him, in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name,
when He said “It’s not here” my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready, He rose without a sound.
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late:
I had waited too long, and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight.
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem, the meaning is clear:
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There’s only one life and when comes the last call,
We’ll find that the Bible was true after all. ‑‑‑‑ Author Unknown ‑‑‑‑‑

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