Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 95

Well today will be the last time we deal exclusively with the Pentateuch in the chapter charts. Tomorrow we will straddle the last pages of Deuteronomy and the first pages of the historical book, Joshua. I hope you have enjoyed our trip through God’s  first five! Now onward and upward as they say!

Deuteronomy chapter 32 sermon topics/ titles:

1. Not Just Another Sad Song: Deut 32:1-43

2. He Sees What You Hide: Deut. 32:1-43

3. The Promise At A Distance: Deut. 32:48-52

Deuteronomy chapter 33 sermon topics/titles:

1. Bowing Down to Receive: Deut. 33:3,4

2. The Cry of Judah! Deut. 33:7

3. Blessings From the Deep: Deut. 33:13

Now Tell me what you see! Chapter 33 has a lot of meat!

ἀγάπη χρηστεύομαι (Love Is Kind) Again

Love is kind! And don’t you forget it!

I don’t think most of us do. I just think most of us don’t really know what that means. Somewhere along the way “Love is kind.” gets watered down into “Love is nice.” or  “Love doesn’t make waves.”

But I’m pretty sure Paul thought he had a grasp on love. I’m really sure that Jesus was the epitome of love. Yet neither of these men was always “nice”. As far as making waves goes both Paul and Jesus were relational tsunamis.

Jesus was the guy who called the Gentile woman “a dog” to her face in Ma. 15 (and even in the context of that day it really wasn’t a nice name). How many times did he offend the crowds he was speaking to?

Paul?… he could incite whole cities to riot. He even made one group so mad they stoned him. He’s the guy who wrote to the Galatians he hoped the Judaizers would slip and emasculate themselves. Now that’s a different kind of kind than the kind I was taught. How ’bout you?

So was Paul just failing to take his own advice when he wrote to the Galatians or was he maybe talking about something else? Well let’s take a look.

The word Paul uses for kind is :

chrēsteuomai-Kind (Adjective), Kind (Be), Kindly, Kindness: (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines it this way:

kind-adj 1. affectionateloving 2.a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature b : of a forbearing nature : gentle c : arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance <a kind act>:of a kind to give pleasure or relief

      Kindness is the mindset of sympathy coupled with the desire to bring pleasure or relief; It is a forbearance that keeps us from giving others what they so richly deserve, while trying to help them see there is a better way.

Kindness can be “nice”. Yet it is more interested in being truly helpful than in building any certain perception of self. In other words when I am kind I am more interested in helping you than I am in making you think I am “wonderful”. When I am kind I may be politically incorrect but my motivation will be to lift up someone who has fallen down.

In Ma 15 Jesus was kind when he helped the Syro-Phoenician woman to discover she had a vital faith. He was kind,likewise, to confront those listening in, who thought they had faith with their self-limiting stereotypes.

Paul may have incited riots in Ephesus and Jerusalem but he didn’t do it for the shock value. He did it to bring the saving message of the gospel to the lost and dying. That was a kindness.

We are kind whenever we seek to do good for others even if they do not respond well in our offering.

Have you ever had to be harsh with someone in order to be kind to them? Tell me about it.

Wait For It Again

This is the second post in the “Ferocious” series. I hope you are enjoying my vacation!

I was fourteen. I had been a Christian for all of a year. It was Wednesday night Bible study and we were sharing prayer requests in groups of five or six and praying for one another.

I asked prayer for the salvation of my parents. The woman next to me began to talk about how frustrated she was with her own teen-ager, how she felt she was near the end of her rope.

I innocently offered, “I’ll pray for you that God would give you patience.”

The circle fell silent and the woman looked at me aghast as if I had just offered to murder her kid to relieve her misery.

Another woman in the circle said, “Dear, you must never pray for patience for others. It causes trials.”

For a long time after that I believed and repeated what I had been taught in that small prayer circle. Many times I said the same words to other Christians, as if in jest. But always there was some deep-set fear in my heart that praying for patience could release the destroying angel into people’s lives.

Then one day the Lord asked me “Is patience a fruit of my Holy Spirit?”

“Yes Lord” I replied.

”Do you have difficulty praying for joy or faith to grow in people’s lives?” He asked gently.

“No Lord I do not.” I returned.

“Is patience not needed as much as these other fruits?”

“Yes Lord.” I answered beginning to get chagrined.

“Then you should pray for people to grow in patience and let Me worry about how I choose to answer your request. For I always know the best way to answer.”

The fact of the matter is that praying for patience does not cause trials. Life causes trials. Further patience is not a cause of trials it is a response to trials. Even further than that, I do not believe that praying for a person to grow in patience causes more trials than normal. I do believe it releases the Holy Spirit to convict a person about how they respond to stress and that can make stress seem, well, more stressful to the impatient heart.

In truth though patience cannot be seen by the human eye without the fiery blaze of a trial to light its existence. When all is peaceful and at rest we cannot say a person is patient because you do not have to be very great in patience to sleep on a hammock. But put a guy in the midst of an angry board meeting and you will see how deep his patience runs.

If we are to walk the pathway of god’s ferocious love we must have patience running deep in our veins. Paul evidently thought it important enough to rank first in his defining list of love traits.

“Love is patient.” I Cor. 13:4 NIV

Now the writers of the New Testament used two Greek words to describe this quality we call patience:

hypomonē-

1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance

a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

b) patiently, and steadfastly

2) a patient, steadfast waiting for

3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

OR

makrothymeō-

to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart

a) to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles

b) to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others

1) to be mild and slow in avenging

2) to be longsuffering, slow to anger, slow to punish

** Definitions care of blueletterbible.com lexicon

Now both definitions are incredible to meditate upon. However when Paul wrote, “Love is patient”, he actually said, “love is makrothymeō”.

In other words “love persevere’s bravely in enduring misfortune.”

My great-grandmother had twenty-five pregnancies. Twenty of them were miscarriages. It had to be makrothymeō  that kept her going for her family.

It takes makrothymeō to “turn the other cheek” or to love your enemies, because you have to bear with the offenses of others.

Patience of this kind doesn’t yell at the telemarketer or the bill collector. Nor does it run and hide from them. It deals bravely and peacefully with every person in every situation.

You know, looking at it that way makes me want patience. I need it. So I do pray for it because I want to love the way God loves and if I have to go through a few ferocious trials to get there…well I think patience will be worth the price.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2,3 kjv

Let It be So!

Ferocious Again

I wrote the “Ferocious” series a while ago. I thought that it would be good to bring it back while I was on vacation. Let me know what you think!

Our worship team got into a discussion about “real love” a few weeks ago during our time of Bible study and prayer. We were looking at I Corinthians 13 :4-8 and trying to find one word we could boil  all these verses down  into.

You know the passage I’m referring to: “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails….” I Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

We tossed around several words but finally one of the altos on our vocal team, Betty, shot out a word that really seems to sum up God’s definition of love.

Betty said “Love is ferocious.”

Now that right there is powerful revelation. Look at the verses again and tell me what you think. If love were an animal would it be a kitten or a police dog? Would love be the zebra or the lion?

Anybody who chooses the cute cuddly critter or the helpless herbivore has never really tried to walk in kindness towards the bully whose taking your lunch money. Any body who said kitten has never had to walk with hope for the child who has fallen back into drugs for the fiftieth time.

Love is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. After all it is the conduit through which the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit operate. Anything that can channel gifts of such amazing power has to itself be pretty rugged don’t you think?

Over the next several posts I am going to be breaking down these verses so that we can get a clearer understanding about this ferocious thing called love. But before I do that I want to make a few observations about these verses together that will maybe help us to understand just how potent a pill love is to take.

First of all love is not just one of the items on the list.

It is not right to say “love is just being patient”.

It is not even right to say “love just always trusts”.

If we do that then love becomes patience or trust. But love is not love until it is all the things on the list. Take away just one item and you no longer have love. If you do everything on the list but you do it impatiently you have not loved. Conversely if you are patient but you are only patient with someone because you have already given up on them then you also have not loved. For love never fails or gives up.

You see love leaves us no quarter. It’s like the lion chasing down the zebra pouncing on its hind-end bringing it to ground. It is ferocious with us in that it never lets up. Love demands a ruthless perfection in us in order to manifest.

Further love is not a situational thing. If we are to love we cannot choose the conditions or the individuals we are to love. Love is not about the objects of our love it is about the inner condition of our heart.

I cannot choose when to love for love is an always things. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (ICor. 13:7 NIV). If I am to love I cannot say I will love on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Nor can I say I will love when somebody does something nice for me and makes me feel like being loving.

True love remains the same even when the objects of our love become themselves unlovely: When the child disobeys love disciplines with the hope of restoring truth for the purpose of rejoicing. When the spouse is hateful love does not retaliate or bring it up in the next time of tension. When the lady in line in front of you at Dunkin Donuts swears at you love remains kind.

You see love is ferocious not with other people. Love is ferocious with those of us who are trying to love. It is the power that takes away all our imperfection and submits us fully to God.

By this point most of us have given up and said “I now see I have never loved and surely I never will.”

Congratulations you have come to the knowledge that you cannot do that which is only doable by God in you. Love is a God thing and without Him actively participating in our loving we will never attain to the goal of I Corinthians 13.

Praise be that He does not leave us to our own devices. God and God alone will make us into real lovers. So let us now submit to Him as we go on to study the components of this ferocious love.

Pray with me.

Dear Jesus, I acknowledge that without your help I cannot love as you have called me to love. So I ask now dear Lord that as I study, first open my understanding so that I may know what love is. Then come and empower me by your grace to do that which I cannot do myself. Make me to love even as you love.

In Jesus name a-men.

Heaven Pt. 63

“And of Joseph  he said, Blessed of the LORD [be] his land , for the precious things  of heaven , for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath ,” Deut. 33:13 KJV
I am thankful for the rain! Because of the roses, I am even more thankful for the dew.  You see, every year at this time our yard bursts into bloom with multiple thousands of wild and cultivated roses.

The fragrant shafts burst forth from nearly a quarter acre of bushes that over the last twenty-five years have slowly encroached on the landscape. You may remember, that last year I had to cut the roses out of my crab apple tree.

But they have also climbed high into the beech and dogwood trees. They would truly be a nuisance if they did not smell so absolutely beautiful!

Here’s the thing about rose season. Too much rain makes the roses melt right off the vine. Roses like the dew of Heaven. It comes every night and slakes the thirst of the the ever seeking roots, but never gives so much moisture that the fragrant petals rot before they can release their gift.

I love the rain. It’s one of God’s gifts to a fallen world. But the dew, now that was God’s gift from Heaven before the fall.

“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” Ge. 2:5,6 KJV

Deuteronomy 33:13 reminds me that there is coming a restoration of all things! I wonder what a perfect world will look like! What do you think?

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 94

Some people see a big difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. I don’t. I see the God of judgment very clearly in the book of Revelation and in Deuteronomy 28. Then again I see the God of mercy and restoration just as clearly in Deuteronomy 30 as I do in John 3:16.

Tell me what you see in today’s chapter!

Deuteronomy chapter 30 sermon topics/ titles:

1. Returned And Restored: Deut. 30:1-10

2.Restored and Returned: Deut. 30: 1-10

3. It’s Not Too Hard! Deut.30:11-16

Deuteronomy chapter 31 sermon topics/titles:

1. Reinforce the Replacement: Deut. 31: 1-8

2. What Will Your Dying Vision Be? Deut. 31:14-18

3. The Promise in Apostasy: Deut. 31:19-23

What do you see? 🙂

Pastor Wrinkles: Chapter Charts Pt. 93

Following God is such an awesome privilege. Yet it also comes with some awesome responsibilities. Today’s chapters got me thinking about what God requires of those who would follow after Him!

Deuteronomy chapter 28 sermon topics/titles:

1. If You Fully Obey: Deut. 28:1-14

2. Blessed or Cursed: Deut. 28: 1-68

3. The Steps of Judgment: Deut. 28:1-68

Deuteronomy chapter 29 sermon topics/titles:

1. Remember Where You Came From! Deut: 29 1-8

2.A Classless Covenant: Deut. 29:9-14

3. Don’t Allow a Heart To Turn: Deut. 29: 16, 17

Now tell me what you see! 🙂

Melanie and Joe’s Journey Pt. 3

This week due to time constraints I have found it necessary to put these two posts about the kid’s journeys to the Far East together.

Joe spent most of his week building walls for a church and then helping with a VBS. But what I got from him were a lot of pictures of food. Apparently my son aspires to be the next Andrew Zimmerman

Here are a few of the yummy things he ate this week.

heart, liver and gizzard

Octopus and squid

green bean/ kidney bean/ coconut and jelly (like spam jelly) snowcone

 

 

Joe is going for the full experience of living in and among the people. He is trying to learn as much of the Thai culture and ways as he can in the short time he is visiting the country. I am so proud of him and his cast iron stomach! 🙂

Meanwhile Melanie is meeting so many wonderful people and is just having a blast teaching English and learning Thai.

Mel with a teammate and some of the kids she is teaching.

She looks born to it!

 

I swell with joy as I hear about what God is doing through Joe and Mel! Thanks for praying!

 

 

 

Share Your World With Cee Cee Pt. 14


This week’s questions required some deep thought on my part. I hope tomorrow I still like my answers.

  1. If 100 people your age were chosen at random, how many do you think you’d find leading a more satisfying and joyful life than yours?
    I am truly blessed. My life is far from perfect but I know that this has been the life God chose for me so I am pretty satisfied. I guess we all have things we would change if we could but we can’t; So I think the trick to being satisfied in life is not in getting everything right or perfect but making the most out of the road you are on.
  2. Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love? Jesus has shown me true love and it is worth more than all the gold and silver in the world.
  3. If you had to cancel one month of the year forevermore, so that period of time no longer existed, which month would go? And Why? January. Because it is dark and cold.
  4. You’re given one million dollars, what do you spend it on? I would give the tithe. Then I would pay off the kids college, Fix the things around the house that need fixing and then maybe travel a little.

This week’s pictures are from an outdoor wedding venue I recently ministered at:

The Bridal Path

The Wedding Chapel!The Witnesses to Every Weeding!