Everything? Yes, Everything!

Today our “Wait, did He really say that” moment comes from John 16:15.

All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose [it] to you. – John 16:15

Read that again…

All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose [it] to you. – John 16:15

Let it sink in…

All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose [it] to you. – John 16:15

If you were skimming or skipping – go back and read it three more times.

Now let’s break it down.

“All things”

Yes–you know what all means.

But what “all” are we talking about?

“All things.”

Things? What kind of things?

“All Things.” Ok–let’s be clear. Only the things that the Father has.

OH–those things!

I know, I’m being a little silly, and I don’t want to waste your time, but I really want this to sink in, for me and for you.

My Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the One of whom it is said, “The earth is the Lord and everything in it,” all of His things belong to Jesus.

But what might be more staggering yet is His method of delivery.

Everything that Jesus has received as His inheritance the Holy Spirit will disclose to us.

It almost sounds like we’ll get to see His inventory list, but that’s as far as it goes. NOT TRUE.

Disclosure–Revelation–is God’s method of getting everything to us. Let me bring it closer. His WORD is his delivery system. We receive everything through His Word. Not just things for our head. Not just things for our body. But everything that can be had comes through the disclosure of God’s resources to us through the Holy Spirit.

It was by His Word He created the entire material world, so this is not limited to Spritiaul or intellectual property. It really means ALL THINGS!

A fresh look at Stewardship.

We tend to think of stewardship as being careful with the money (and we really only think about stewardship in terms of finances, don’t’ we) He has already put in our hands.

But Jesus exercised stewardship over a boy’s lunch. It was not His lunch, it was someone else’s stuff. He received it from the boy.

[Warning: The following conversation is fictional. These are not God’s actual words, but are meant to stir your faith.]

He looked to heaven and showed it to His Father. “Oh, Abba, look at this seed My young friend planted. What can you do with this?”

Father smiled down and said, “Bread, BE, Fish, BE.” And dinner was served.

Jesus knew about the bakery in heaven. You know, the one where they made enough mana for three million Jews six days a week for forty years. It’s a substantial operation.

And Jesus knew just how to tap God’s fish supply. Remember Peter’s boat, the one that almost sank.

Where did all the fish come from? It was something God had.

As was the coin that showed up in the fish’s mouth when Peter needed to pay his taxes.

He had oil for the widow’s pots, wine for a wedding in Cana, meal to outlast a famine in another widow’s pantry.

He had eyes for blind men.
He had hearing for the deaf.
He has words for the dumb.
He has legs for the lame.
He has new digits and extremities for those eaten away by leprosy.
He has freedom for the demon-possessed, and peace for their minds.
He has companionship for the brokenhearted.
He has anointing to pour out on those who would speak for Him.
He has Salvation for any and all who call upon His name.
He has direction for those who can’t find their way.
He has all things.

He’s given them all to Jesus.

Jesus through the Spirit will give it all to you.

That’s what you are stewarding. Not the ten-dollar bill in your wallet.

How are you going to help Him give away all His stuff?

– Mind blown –

BenHeadshotBlessings,

Love you,

Ben

I Want to See You Again – #SOSSaturdays

Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock, Where do you make it lie down at noon? – Song of Songs 1:7

When we left our girl she was distressed about the state of her vineyard – her own spiritual walk. She was spent and missing the intimacy she knew at her first encounter with the Lord. She had gotten pulled into service because of her passion, and left her first love.

Like the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2, she was getting the good stuff done, but leaving off the ‘One Thing.’

Today, she gets it, and look at the focus of her prayer

Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock, Where do you make it lie down at noon?

You see, the way to bring life back to a dying vineyard is to reconnect to The Vine.

Her heart cry is back – I just want to know your tender care.

Let’s walk right through it.

First – You Lord are the ONE my soul loves – she identifies herself as a Jesus Lover. She knows her life has been out of balance, but that does not diminish her desire for intimacy with the Lord.

Next – Where do you pasture your flock? I want to be where You are. I know you will care for me.

Then – Where do you make it lie down at noon? They tell me that a sheep will only lie down and rest midday when it has been thoroughly fed and watered. For the sheep to lie down it must be completely satisfied!

There is a clear throwback to that wonderful Psalm of the Shepherd.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:1-3

Her heart cries out for His tender and loving care.

In the business of twenty-first-century lives, are you missing His tender care today?

Don’t let your busy life be the undoing of your vineyard.

Call out today and tell Jesus, the Great Shepherd, that you want to be fed in the green pastures, and drink from the still waters.

BenHeadshotSee you next week!

Ben

Peace-MAKER

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9

Not “Blessed are the Peace lovers.”

Not “Blessed are the Peacekeepers.”

The word is “Peacemaker.”

This word, “Peacemaker” interests me. It only appears once in all of the Greek New Testament. It comes from (you guessed it) two Greek root words.

This peacemaker is not an appeaser, not one who avoids conflict. Rather the one who makes peace actively does what is necessary to end conflict. I like the definition of the “maker” part of the word. It literally means (are you ready for this?) to make–to produce–to create. Isn’t that cool?

Jesus calls us to action. We cannot sit passively by and hope for peace. Peace is produced–it’s made–it’s the product of peacemaking activity! Let me say that one more time:

Peace is a product and it’s made through peacemaking activity by peacemakers!

Jesus talks here about the peace that passes understanding. This peace stems from reconciliation with the Father. When you enter into this peace you immediately have an active roll in helping others find the way to this peace. If you follow Christ, if you call Jesus Lord, if you live with the expectation of a place prepared for you beyond the grave, your business–your calling–your job–is to make peace.

Peacemaking starts with praying for those with whom you have some influence. God will open doors for you with your friends and loved ones. He will make opportunities to lead them into this peace in their own life. And more importantly into peace with the Father.

Start today! Ask the Lord for the who and the how. God brings amazing opportunities into the path of those who align themselves with His heart in this area.

Tell me about them! I can’t wait to hear what God does with your submitted life!

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by,

Walk in the light,

Ben

Who’s in Charge of Your Vineyard? – #SoSSaturday

They made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard. – Song of Songs 1:6

We have arrived at the third of three disasters that have presented themselves in quick succession to our Maiden. Keep in mind – our paradigm is that the Maiden is an individual, passionate, and at this point in the story, newly ignited, Christ-follower.

Disaster one – she looked in the mirror and did not see what He saw. In the light of His glory and grace, she felt dirty.

Disaster two – she ran into the men and women of the bucket brigade who were put off by her passion and zeal and did what they could to dampen her spirit.

Today we find that our young maiden is thrust directly into ministry. I hinted at this in an earlier post, but today we see the fruit of too much ministry and not enough intimacy.

Does this sound like anyone you know? (Check the bathroom – they might be in the medicine cabinet looking out.)

  • Every time the Church doors are open they are there.
  • They volunteer for everything in the bulletin:
  • Nursery work
  • Set up and tear down after the pot luck
  • Teaching Sunday School
  • Chaperoning the Sr. High retreat
  • Painting and Maintenance day
  • Spring cleanup
  • Leaf raking
  • Filling the communion cups
  • Cleaning up the communion cups
  • Dusting the pews Bibles (you wouldn’t want dusty pews Bibles would you?)
  • Collecting the artwork left behind by the little ones after church.
  • She even signs up for creating sign up sheets.

Then there is the problem of what to do next week.

You get the point. She is immediately overworked, and what happens next? Her spirit begins to call out for God. She remembers her intimate encounter with the Lord, and thinks “This is not what I signed up for.”

Her vineyard goes uncared-for and begins to show signs of neglect.

Those who should be stoking her up and feeding her passion, are actually (and I assure you this is unintentional) drawing her away from what makes her so valuable to the Body of Christ – her connection to the Head.

In the song, her vineyard or garden is her personal spiritual life.

We (maidens) must make our own relationship with the Lover of our Soul of paramount importance in our lives.

We (church leaders) must make ‘How to love God well’ a major part of instruction for young believers, and we must guard against allowing anyone to become over-committed to program.

The first time I taught through this Song in a Sunday School setting when we came to this point, there was a couple in the class who had been working with pre-k children in the Sunday School program since their college student had been pre-k.

They were so hungry, and their own vineyards had been neglected over the years. Don’t get me wrong. They were not backslidden or anything like that. They were just desperate for some teaching that didn’t involve crayons. They craved something to dig their teeth into, which would help them tend to their spiritual lives. And they needed someone to encourage them to get up close to their Soul Lover.

What can you do? Or more importantly, what can you stop doing so that you can press into the Lord’s presence and tend to your own vineyard.

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in today.

See you next week.

Ben

What Peace?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. ~ Matthew 5:9

Peacemaker? What peace is Jesus referring to? Is it simply tranquility, or the cessation of hostility? Is it some sort of détente like we had with the former USSR when they could no longer afford to maintain a cold war?

Consider what the father of John the Baptist said upon the birth of this man of God.

Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace. ~ Luke 1:78-79 NKJV

Again, in the next chapter speaking of Jesus Himself:

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” ~ Luke 2:14

Jesus, our Prince of Peace, brings us of the ending of hostilities between God and man. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that the mind set on the flesh is actively hostile toward God.

…because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; ~ Romans 8:7

And what is it that can bring an end to these hostilities? Does peace come because God closes His eyes, ignoring our sin? No! This hostility can only end one way. We must surrender our lives to Him.

With the coming of Jesus, we can finally put down the weapons of our warfare against God. As we lay down our hate, our rebellion, our self-righteousness, we take up the cause of Christ. We become peacemakers – those who work to bring this same peace to others.

Once you know the peace that Jesus offers, you will never be content to sit by and let those around you wage their useless war against the Lord of Hosts.

If you don’t know this peace for yourself, you can find it today. Call upon the name of Jesus. These beatitudes pave a clear path toward relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Talk to Jesus about it. He can hear you wherever you are. Admit your own poverty of spirit and your need for God.

Confess and forsake all your sin. Tell Him about every sin you can remember doing and ask Him for forgiveness.

Meekly submit your will, your desires, your plans, to Him.

Pursue righteousness and integrity in everything you do, with His help. Offer mercy and forgiveness to those who owe you or have hurt you.

Ask Jesus to purify your heart, and press into more and more purity. Meditation on His word cleanses you like no soap can.

Then you will become a peacemaker too, and as you experience His peace, you will want to draw others to His side as well.

If you have talked to Jesus about these things, tell me about it. My email is [email protected] I’d love to hear your story. Tell a Christian you know. Get plugged into a church, and begin to live in His Word, the Bible. We live by the daily bread of His voice.

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping in,

Walk in the Blessing!

Ben

Resurrection

I want to share a quick thought from John 11, and the resurrection of Lazerus. You can read the whole story in John 11, but I want to jump in when Jesus shows up on the scene and meets up with Martha.

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” – John 11:21-22

Martha almost asks Jesus to ask the Father to raise Lazerus up.

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” – John 11:23-24

Martha believed in an end-time resurrection and believed that her brother had faith enough to take part in it.

I feel like Martha’s doing pretty well here, based on her words. But she’s missing something. She gets how connected Jesus is to the Father and how He can ask anything and God will do it. But Jesus’ response to her takes it all to another level.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

The answer for Martha comes not from Jesus’ tight connection with the Father, or with the amazing things Jesus can do.

We get stuck on what Jesus can do sometimes.

Like the Leper Jesus met in Matthew 8

And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” – Matthew 8:2

What we are missing, like Martha and the leper, is not what Jesus can do, but who He is.

I AM – the Greek phrase Ego Emi. It’s actually the reason the Jews wanted Him dead, and Jesus used this phrase over and over through out His ministry.

It was not that He had the power or the connection with God. Jesus is resurrection. He is THE LIFE! Life and death are like hot and cold, or light and dark. Death, cold and darkness are not measurable. These words represent the absence of something. When it’s cold out, it’s because there is less heat available. Darkness flees in the face of light because it only represents the absence of light.

So it is with death. Death is simply the absence of life.

So when life Himself comes on the scene, what can death do but yield. Death flees in the face of The Life.

BenHeadshotThanks for taking a minute for me today.

See you again soon,

Ben

Momma’s Boys – #SOSSaturday

My mother’s sons were angry with me – Song of Songs 1:6

Last week we looked at the Maiden’s first big problem she felt dirty on the outside but had beauty on the inside.

Today we get a look at a second crisis in her walk with the Lord – Momma’s boys.

It is interesting to me that she does not say “my brothers.” Rather – these sons of my mother. What do we have here, wicked stepbrothers?

First, we have to understand the age-old question – who’s your momma?

Jesus via the Great Commission in Matthew 28, puts the job of evangelism squarely on the shoulders of the Church. Throughout the ages, the Church has been in a motherly role. It is her job to evangelize and her job to make disciples. A newborn in Christ is said to need the mother’s milk of the word. The Church wields the bottles.

Consider:

But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother. – Galatians 4:26

My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you – Galatians 4:19

 

nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. – 1 Thessalonians 2:6

We have a little mixing of metaphors here. God composes our spiritual mother of brothers and sister.

But as a new believer, you might feel more like an outsider, and so the term “mother’s sons.” Our girl is new to the faith. She’s not feeling part of the family-a bit outside the camp.

Worse than that, after her intimate encounter with the King, her zeal and passion that set her apart. She stands out in every crowd.

I know many of you have been there. You are (or were) that passionate one who just won’t shut up about Jesus. In the lobby of the Church, you talk about your God encounters throughout the week, while everyone else talks sports and fashion.

Ray Comfort (writer, speaker, evangelism teacher) talks about himself as a young Christian. (I paraphrase here.) When he was a young Christian he had great zeal and passion and told everyone he ran into about Christ. He was on fire. And over the years (long pause here) he has never cooled down. He is still on fire for the Lord with the same zeal and passion for the Lord as ever he had.

I love that. I feel like that is my story. I hope so. I might say that years and experience have given me a different perspective on some things, but the passion remains. One of my favorite things is to see a young Christian, full of that “first love.”

So here is the problem. There are many in the Church who have left their first love. And when they run into our maiden–our zealous, passionate firebrand–they feel a twinge of conviction. They see in her what they should be.

So begins the unsanctified bucket brigade. They immediately start dousing our maiden’s fervor. They don’t want to be around her; They don’t have that same passion; They aren’t consumed by a desire for the presence of the Lord. And it’s all right here in her every word.

This causes a reaction in the maiden, too. A twinge of self-righteousness? Our holy zeal can develop an edge of condemnation. Why aren’t they where I am? Why don’t they want to talk about the Lord? Why don’t they want to spend their Saturday on the street with me preaching to passers-by?

And so there is strife in the Body of Christ. So we train the young to tone it down and the passionate to calm down. We call it maturity. So God’s newest and hottest lover lured into judgmental self-righteousness.

Let’s all take a step back today and consider–are you a firebrand in the hands of the Lord, or are you in the bucket brigade? We all need correction, and I want us to stop and listen to the Lord today.

Those of us in the Church for years need to be cheerleaders, mentors, equippers, throwing logs (and even accelerants) on the fires burning in our young brothers and sisters.

Those of us who are full of zeal and passion must be careful not to write off your elder brothers and sisters. Many have known your zeal and inwardly want it back.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, – Hebrews 10:24 NIV

cropped-BenHeadshotThanks for reading today.

See you next week

Ben

See God!

…for they shall see God – Matthew 5:8

To this point, I have been talking about our approach to the Father. Pure hearts allow us to draw near to Him, but there is more. There is another dimension to seeing God, and we must not miss it.

Here is a question for you to ponder? When Jesus died, the veil in the temple split in two from top to bottom. Why? Was it God granting us access to the holy of holies? Yes–and no! The writer to the Hebrews implores us more than once to approach the throne of God. God intends for us to make our way into His domain.

But that’s not the whole of the matter. For centuries, a religion that told us exactly where to find God satisfied men. The torn veil speaks of God on the loose! No longer confined to a box in a tent or temple, God, to His great pleasure, now walks with us and in us.

Not only can these pure in heart approach the throne of God. The pure in heart will see God show up in day-to-day life. Where we go, He is sure to follow–wait–check that–lead. He goes before us into the workplace, the marketplace, the schoolroom. When we pray for our family members, co-workers, classmates, employees and employers, God shows up and confirms His Word with signs following.

This is where I really get turned on. It is one thing for me to look more spiritual, and walk around like a great saint. But when God starts walking in and through my life with me in tangible ways, that is real Christianity. That’s the kind of Christianity that Christ lived and the kind of Christianity for which He died.

cropped-BenHeadshotSee you soon,

Love,

Ben

Dark But Lovely #SoSSaturday

I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. – Song of Songs 1:5 NKJV

Our girl has spent the evening in the Kings courts. She experienced His personal care for the first time. Now she knows what Isaiah learned in the year that King Uzziah died.

Leonard Ravenhill, the wonderful revivalist from the last century, often preached a sermon using Isaiah 6 as his text and with this outline: Woe, Lo, Go. (You can download a copy at SermonAudio.com. It’s wonderful.)

Woe is me! For I am undone. (vs 5)

When I get into the presence of the Lord the first thing that strikes me is how I really don’t belong here. I am filthy, dirty, DARK and unfit for the Kings Presence.

Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (vs 7)

The blood of Jesus purges opens the way for me to enter this place, and I am not consumed.

Go, and tell this people. (vs 9)

Intimacy leads to productivity.

So let’s look at our maiden. She spends the evening in the King’s presence and when she gets home she begins to examine herself. One look in the mirror is all it takes to see she is earthy–from working outside–from years in the hot sun of the Middle East.

She is dirty from “everything under the sun.” This is the phrase Solomon used in Ecclesiastes to talk about the world’s influence. Jesus told Peter to sit still while He washed his feet. Peter didn’t need a bath–just a cleansing from the dust of the roads of life.

Then she remembers His words to her. He says “I am lovely.” I can see the scene in West Side Story. “I feel pretty,” rings out as our dark beauty dances about her tent’s dirt floor in bare feet, remembering her evening with the King.

The tents of Kedar made of dark animal skins dotted the white sands of the wilderness. The curtains of Solomon, sumptuous and pristine, highlighted the windows of what may have been the most beautiful palace of all time.

Dark and dusty on the outside, beautifully adorned on the inside.

So it is with us. Any time spent on introspection will turn up dirt. Exposing things we know must change. Uncovering hidden places of the heart. Highlighting areas we know we could improve. All of it fodder for shame in the accuser’s hands.

Then you take the bread and wine of God’s love and realize He made you lovely and perfectly acceptable in His sight. No, not just acceptable–desirable! You are the apple of God’s eye, the rose of Sharron, the lily among thorns. You are His desire.

Staggering, isn’t it?

BenHeadshotO the joys of the presence of the Lord!

Come back again next week, won’t you?

Ben

Pure in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God ~ Matthew 5:8

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: ~ Hebrews 12:14

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, ~ Psalm 24:3

We are called to have a pure heart, and to be holy. I am not sure if these two are interchangeable, however, based on the scriptures above each has as its reward an audience with the King of Glory!

The paradox here is that in order to approach God we must be holy which means set apart. And God is so holy and so set apart as to seem unapproachable. It has long fascinated me that God actually created angelic beings whose sole purpose is to hover before the throne of God for all eternity crying “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Both Isaiah and John the beloved tell us of these creatures that act as eternal warning beacons. In the same way, when God decided to interrupt Moses’ afternoon by showing up in a bush, the first order of business was to alert Moses that he was on holy ground.

At first blush, this seems like it is intended to keep us away, but the fact is, in all three cases God’s intent was to draw each of these men closer. As they prepared themselves they got a glimpse of God’s unmatched holiness and they were drawn into His irresistible presence.

Approach the Lord? Yes, you. He calls us to His throne. He beckons we sons of Adam to come before Him. As we draw near, change will be required. The very journey toward His throne will mold us–conform us–to His image. As we approach, He will ensure that we don’t arrive in an impure state, and He will supply what is needed to allow us into His wonderful presence. He did it for Isaiah with coals from the altar (check out Isaiah 6); He will do it for us.

Was there a time that God revealed a greater measure of His holiness to you?

BenHeadshotCome back soon

Love you,

Ben