Posted in animals, Artwork, Horse Art, Uncategorized

Just A Reminder…

… about my other “blog” ImaginEquine!

https://imaginequine.wordpress.com/

Ain’t it time for you to saddle up, hit the trail, and take a look? And it’s time for me to get busy and create some more of these ponies!

The Conversation.jpeg

So head on over, and tie up to the hitchin’ post, and c’mon in! We’ll spend a little time solving the world’s problems. Well, not really. Plenty folks workin’ on that, or so we’re told. Maybe it’s time just to pass some time.

Whadaya think?

 

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Sometimes…

Sometimes it pays to stay with the simplicity that is Christ. What was important to Jesus? People can spend all sorts of time discussing and challenging one another’s lofty ideas, while at the same time failing to grasp and to practice what’s important to Him, biblically speaking – which is where the buck stops.

One thing that comes to mind and is so often overlooked is something that has been coming into focus a great deal of late: “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1John 2:3.

1 John 2:4-6 clearly informs us, “Whoever says, ‘I know Him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God has been perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”

Christianity is meant to be an “evidence based” faith, the evidence being a growth in Christ likeness – love and holiness. 1 John 4:13 – “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” This is where the “can do” comes from, not of ourselves, but of God the Holy Spirit Himself!

It’s not about the right church or the right pew. It’s not about the religious traditions or commandments of men. It’s not about the latest church trends. It’s not about the politics of the land. It’s not about your favorite televangelist. It’s not about your best life now. It’s not about miracles, gifts, signs and wonders! It’s not about what your priest or preacher said last week – unless he’s in agreement with what Jesus teaches about the evidence. And the evidence is everything, per Jesus!

Well then?

Here’s a key: “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b,2. The only way we can be sure about that is to become intimately acquainted with Holy Scripture. Read it. Pray it. Study it. Meditate on it day and night. Talk about it. See Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 for details.

It boils down to what Jesus taught, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

That we have been talked out of this by “can’t do” preachers of every expression of Christianity is a great tragedy. Why? Because Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. It’s how the world knows we are His own! Love like His is the fulfillment of the law! The “can’t do” preachers love to dwell on how much we love sin and how impossible it is to live as Jesus calls His disciples to live. Certainly that is true up to a point – without the Holy Spirit we cannot, for that is the natural state of fallen humanity. But with God, the Counselor and Comforter, what He asks of us is possible. So how about setting our sites on something higher, according to the way Jesus sees things?

A way must be made for this to happen. Might this be why Jesus very clearly directs His followers: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13. We are to ask and keep on asking, or as the Amplified Classic Version states, “… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

And “Blessed are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6. How hungry are you? How thirsty?

“If anyone says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:4-6.

It is also true that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,  and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8,9.

There’s a balance here. It’s not either or. When the Holy Spirit is bestowed, this begins the process whereby we are made more and more Christlike on a continuing basis. If this is not happening, some serious, prayerful self examination is in order. So, check into the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey Clinic and turn yourself around!

We need to abide and to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord. This is the way of a normal Christian life, with its ups and downs. But to think that we should abide always as “poor miserable sinners” forever, or live as we please in our sin, since grace abounds, is an eternally fatal error – not only for ourselves but possibly as well for all to whom we are a “witness.” There must, therefore, always be a continual surrendering to the Holy Spirit by way of godly sorrow for sin, confession, and repentance. And then, in receiving forgiveness, “With my lips I proclaim all the judgments of Your mouth. I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.” Psalm 119:14,15.

So, KISS – Keep It Simple Saints.

And LOVE – Let Others View Emmanuel.

Posted in animals, Observations, Uncategorized

Home Entertainment

The squirrels are out playing on the yard this afternoon. There are about 4 black ones and 2 silver ones all chasing each other. One of them was up on the window reminding me it was lunch time. So I put out bread. Then he ran of course when the front door opened.
Then the crows show up. Never to miss a handy handout. They won’t come to the window ledge where the wee 4 leggeds get fed. Go find some carrion, will you? Should be plenty of that! They always disturb the squirrels.
Let’s see if who gets fed before one of the possum comes up for his late dining experience. They’re being named. I should try to get pictures. “The Other 1” (not Opie – the 1st one as large as an average cat) showed up at almost 11pm the other night! I think there are 3, judging from size and markings. I still need to differentiate between Other 1 and Other 2. Come spring there will probably be a whole tribe. Provided Lake Michigan has not washed away everything West of our yard.
Attention possums. C’mon now guys. Be quick. The “Bistro Patio” closes at 9:30.
Right.
Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Narrow Or Broad Way?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15.

Plenty of pop televangelists “give their regards to Broad Way”. Flash, flair, show, big mansions, private jets, living the high style life. Where’s the cross in that?!

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Spiritual Sea Change

Ephesians 2:3 (context verses 1-10). Among them (referring to those dead in trespasses and sins, the sons of disobedience under the prince of the power of the air) we too all (“we” – clearly Paul includes himself, although he had been quite “religious”) formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

At times it can seem like life is giving us a beating. The following are some thoughts about what this might be about, if we love Jesus and are truly desirous to follow Him. It helps to get some clarification on how things work in this relationship with Him.

When we are born of the Holy Spirit, or “born from above”, there is a difference between what we were by nature and what we have become and are becoming in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing short of a spiritual sea change (a transformation) – in thought, attitude, word, deed, worldview, and more. Everything of the self centered, self absorbed life decreases as Christ increases. That includes self righteousness appealing to human pride. Sometimes this is fast and drastic; at other times the pace is very slow. It depends on what God is doing and what He has in mind for the individual.

Locally along the coast of Lake Michigan, where the Great Lakes are sometimes referred to as the “Inland Seas”, we are being given a glimpse of this by the powerful forces of nature – if only we have eyes to see it. There is much of the “sea” rising up against the shore – sand, dunes, bluffs, trees, flora and fauna, trees, and even a few houses of those who have built on the sand are being washed away. The dirt and rocks are no match for the power of ever encroaching wind and waves combined. A sea change is being imposed upon the land by the forces of nature.

Could this be a lesson God has placed in front of us through His creation? As the purpose of the water and wind will have its way, so shall the purpose of God!

The soil, sand, and whatever is growing from it, or is built on it, is being washed away by the power of the water. The “dirt” must go. It stands in the way of God’s plans and purposes for our life, to remold and reshape us into His likeness. We cannot move what stands in the way of that of our own volition. We are part of it in fact. But it cannot stand against the Holy Spirit, represented by the strong wind and relentless waves. Once this process is occurring, it reconfigures everything, never to be the same again. This is God’s kind of “re-formation”. It may mean a dismantling of how things have been entirely, followed by a restart.

This analogy might be a poor one. When we ask and keep on asking for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:5-13), He does not damage us irreparably. He demolishes within us that which keeps us captive to the prince of this world, the works of the devil in us which Jesus came to destroy (1 John 3:8), his “hooks” of the world, and the flesh. He does not damage us like the waters beating against the shore, but He does “storm” the kingdom of darkness within us which has established a beachhead and a foothold in His kingdom! This occupation of His Kingdom by darkness is not to be allowed. Our body and being are God’s holy temple, and His will is to remove all within it that has been set up by the prince of this world (with our complicity!), that stands against His good intentions for us, which is His love and blessing. That is what brings brings Him glory.

At the same time He restores and rejuvenates us, evidentially validating all of God’s promises, which are yea (sure) and amen (firm) in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20).

If one is born from above, the process goes on to which we surrender, like the sands must surrender to the invincible sea – to His grace which changes us, causing a sea change within us. At times God’s love must be tough and persistent as a maelstrom. So it is good to understand that this can be a possibility.

See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand. Deuteronomy 32:39.

If anyone is experiencing God’s sea changes, the evidence will be that we will see changes in that person. This witnesses to the reality taking place, in a living relationship with Christ Jesus. The old heart – core of the being and its motivations – is replaced by a heart that resembles Jesus, because His transformation is taking place within. What takes place on the inside is seen on the outside. At some point. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes very gradually. 

For truly, we are His workmanship! (Ephesians 2:10).

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Posturing But Not For Peace

More poking the stick at the bear, saber rattling, drum rolls, threats, global bullying, and assassinating as the beat goes on. This world must be a bad dream. May a brighter day arrive soon, when we can awaken.

When will we turn our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning hooks? When will the time come when we learn not to make war anymore?

When the hearts, one by one, of every person – regardless of rank in society – have surrendered themselves fully to the Prince of Peace, and thus are no longer at war with God Himself, when we are willing to learn of Him, and remember that we are to reveal His likeness in our own character on Earth while still in a body. Then surrendered to His Way, and loving one another, as if the other is ourself, we can be at peace.

Conflict has so long terrorized this planet that one wonders if we could stand it if we actually did experience a lack of it. It’s not just political and military, but domestic and personal. It’s riding hard that person who cuts us off in traffic. It’s everywhere from grandiose political posturing to the minutiae of daily interactions. Is there anyone who is not in conflict with someone else on some level?

Don’t you ever wonder about that?

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality

Oh, That Radical Jesus!

Whence cometh this pervasive, earth encompassing, escalating consciousness of violence? How is it to be stopped? Where to begin? Is it too late?
“’Put your sword back in its place,’” Jesus said to him. “’For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.'” Matthew 26:52.
“Sword”: Substitute your weapon of choice.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:21-23.
These are hard sayings.
“… If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32.
Maybe because there’s been no continuation or consistency with abiding in His teaching, we don’t know His truth from experience, and consequently have not been truly freed by it. What He’s talking about here is essentially “empirical theology.” In other words the proof is in the practice, not just in the head. Reaction or faith?
The bottom line is, as Christians we’re not in this world to be of it, or act like it, or take on its ways.
Oh! That radical Jesus!
Something to pray about and ponder.
Posted in Christianity, Spirituality

What Is Christianity?

Let’s start with what a lot of people think it is, but it’s not.

Christianity is not a democracy. Christianity is not a constitutional republic. Christianity is not about the US Constitution or any other government institution. Christianity is not about gun control. Christianity is not about legitimizing what is morally wrong or any other liberal agenda. Christianity is not about supporting Israel or any other foreign government or lobby. Christianity is not about supporting Donald Trump or any other political leader. Christianity is not about “fire insurance” theology.

Christianity is about the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God coming about through the hearts and minds of humankind, one at a time, through the knowledge of God. Christianity is about individuals being transformed by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit, so as to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, not only in love but in righteousness. That’s called “holiness”, which means wholeness. This is the foremost component of what it means to be “saved”, to be salvaged, to be made whole.

Where did we ever lose track of that message?

Why have the pulpits of preachers, pastors, priests, and popes been compromised by these other things having nothing to do with the Kingdom of God?

We must wake up and understand that this world will change when we are each changed from the inside out. Let’s take back the Faith that has been hijacked and supplanted by the world system!

Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality

Christ Our Exemplar

We can see Jesus’ example when the heat was on, in ways you and I cannot imagine.

Jesus’ Arrest:   ‘Then said Jesus unto Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”‘ John 18:36.

Jesus On Trial:    ‘Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now, My kingdom is not of this realm.”‘ John 18:11.

Jesus’ Execution / Crucifixion:    ‘And Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they cast lots, dividing His garments.’ Luke 23:34.

There’s something deeper here than meets the natural eye. How did Christ walk? How was He led? How did He know His Father’s will for Him, which was the way of the Cross? He was led of the HOLY Spirit. (See Matthew 4) He spent many hours in prayer (communion with the Father).

Although the Son of God, 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, ‘Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.’ Philippians 2:6-8.

‘During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.’ Hebrews 5:7-9

‘Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.’ 1 John 2:6.

‘Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.’ Romans 13:14.

‘Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us walk in step with the Spirit.’ Galatians 5:24, 25.

‘The greatest among you shall be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let in those who wish to enter.’ Matthew 23:11-13.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2,3.

This is all a reminder of some lyrics from an old song: “Dance in the darkness, slow be the pace; surrender to the rhythm of redeeming grace…” by Carey Landry