Prisoner of Christ. The previous link was broken.
Fred Butler and Lyndon Unger have been tag teaming chapter by chapter MIchael Brown’s tome Authentic Fire. Extremely interesting reading. If you haven’t been following you can start now by clicking the link below.You can find links to the other chapters from there.
Have a great day reading!
My wife and I are retired and totally dependent on Social Security payments to meet our daily expenses. That has a tendency to focus your mind on things of earth, to say the least. There are times when we are basically kept prisoners in our own home waiting for the next check. We run out of milk, bread, eggs, gas for the car and may wait up to a week or more for the next check so we can buy groceries or put gas in the car. I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact of life. We are far better off here in America than most people in third world countries. We live in a small mobile home,with a wood burning stove in the living room and an electric heater in the bedroom. This morning it is 21 degrees outside and 38 in the kitchen. Only yesterday did we install a new tankless water heater so we won’t run out of hot water ever again. We have been without hot water since July of last year and have been unable to afford to replace the water heater til now. Though sometimes we are inconvenienced for a few days, on the whole life is good. God is good. All the time. Like the old Billy Sprague tune says, “Life is hard..but God is good!”
It is easy to get in a rut complaining about “Poor me. I have such troubles. Where is God when I need Him?” Of course, we are focused on the wrong things aren’t we? 1 Chronicles 22:19 says, “Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” While we see Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” And then there is 1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So what is the takeaway here? Simply this: We can REACT to our momentary situation and let our emotions and mind be ruled by the exigent circumstances in which we find ourselves, OR we can set our mind and heart on things that are truly important. What is eternal and what is temporal? Everything we see: every luxury, every necessity …every trial or temptation we experience here on this Earth is temporary. It will all be burned up on the last day. So what will we take with us when we go? It is certain we came into this world naked and totally dependent on others. It is also certain we will enter the next life with nothing and find ourselves totally dependent on God. The only question we must settle can only be settled on THIS side of the veil. When we arrive on the other side will we find God to be a friend? A loving Father? or will we be terrified of the most implacable foe in the universe? Only YOU can answer that question. And I was worried about putting gas in my car? Really!
Out of the darkness, into the light. No one wants to admit there is an invisible elephant in the room, in order to avoid screams of pachydermophobia.
Open your eyes. Read. Here.
We have all seen them. Before and After photos on television. There are before and after “The Lifestyle Lift”, before and after “Weight Watchers”, before and after “Extreme Makeover” as on the Today Show with Hoda Kotbe and Kathie Lee Gifford. How about Before and After where they tear down or gut someone’s home and remake it into House Beautiful? Then there are the movies – like romantic comedies where the boy who is a buffoon entirely incapable of commitment in any relationship, meets the girl of his dreams, and, still, it takes him the entire movie and many mishaps before he comes to the solid and satisfying realization that he simply cannot live without her and runs, flies, races, after her taxi, airplane, bicycle or whatever mode of transportation she is using to leave his sorry self behind, finally to stand before her and declare his undying love and earnest desire to be with her forever! Yeah. I’ve seen it too, and we appropriately, smile, or quietly weep, or at least let tears brim our eyelids politely as it warms the cockles of our little hearts.
Before and After….nothing compares to the ULTIMATE Before and After, performed by the God of The Universe. Think about it. Look in the mirror. Once we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.
(Ephesians 2:4-10) (But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.)
Did we choose Christ? No. He chose us! Can a “dead man” make a choice? We were dead and He “made us alive” together with Christ, and then He gave us the Gift of Faith to believe in Him. Before he “made us alive” we had a “heart of stone”. He gave us a heart of flesh! Can a “heart of stone” love God? Can a “heart of stone” have faith? Can a “heart of stone” believe The Gospel? NO.
(1Corinthians 1:18) “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
That has to be the Ultimate “Before and After”. “Before” we were dead. “Before” we had a heart of stone. “Before” we were incapable of loving God as dead men. “After” we have been given a heart of flesh. “After” we have been given the “Gift of faith”. “After” we have been made alive together with Christ, and adopted into the family of God. I submit to you, there is no greater “Before and After” on the planet.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Benjamin Eliff has a cogent article exploring the differing interpretations on the Lord’s Supper from the viewpoint of Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Non-Lutheran Protestantism. He looks at the doctrine of “transubstantiation” and what Catholics believe about the body and blood of Christ actually existing in the bread and wine of the sacrament. Then he looks at “consubstantiation” from the Lutheran viewpoint of Christ’s spiritual presence in the elements, ending with his take on the true Biblical interpretation on the entire subject. Truly important “food for thought” can be found in this study on “The Lord’s Supper.” From: World View Weekend – CLICK HERE.