Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's Next?

The purpose of this blog is to provide my out loud thoughts on Ephesians 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

I have two complete manuscripts on this subject and one in the works: Christian Mythology, The Remnant, and My Little Children. Last month I submitted the first to an agent. Yesterday I received the rejection. As I prayed about this situation a few things came to mind that I want to share with you.

First, Christians should recognize the imminency of the return of Jesus Christ. As such, we must be ready at all times. Jesus wondered aloud whether He would find faith on the earth when He returned. The purpose of my books and blog is to wonder in word whether He will find His Bride as " a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

Second, God showed me that this rejection was something to rejoice in, be thankful for, and continue in prayer in full of the Spirit (according to I Thessalonians 5:16-19). Why do that in light of rejection? Because this work is one of faith, not sight. I know that God wants this message out. I also know His timing is perfect. I also know my understanding is frequently corrected by Him, particularly with regards to timing. I usually think "right now!" whereas God does not tell me when but allows me to learn.

Right now I am reading through Exodus. Moses had the same problem with time. He thought deliverance would be immediate. But God had some things to do first. He would show Himself God of gods and LORD of lords before Pharaoh. I wonder what kinds of things God has planned for this world just before Jesus comes and before my book is published.

Because I believe the time is at hand. God has given His final Word in the Bible to warn us of the wrath to come. I believe He wants to use my books as perhaps one last warning to the true Church, the Body and Bride of Christ, to get ready. That is the bottom line. Jesus commanded us to watch, pray, and be faithfully ready.

If you are ready and actively making your calling and election sure through the exercise of your spiritual gifts within the remnant Body, the praise the Lord. Give thanks. Keep praying. Keep discipling. And pray for me, that I may continue with boldness to write and speak the word with boldness as we all ought to. Finally, pray that I obtain an agent. I sent another query last night. The time is at hand.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Forgot

This has been a tough two weeks. Emotionally, physically, and mentally taxing to the limit. It's crisis time again at work and in these respects I did not handle it well at all. God just went completely out of the picture. Well, almost. His Holy Spirit never leaves or forsakes. He just keeps gently prodding. Even when He is grieved.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you do? How well do you handle crisis? What do you do when you willfully get back into sinful acts to try to deal with crisis?

I finally had enough. I went to my favorite hot spring (Io Jima, Nagasaki, Japan) to relax. Once completely drained, I could take the time desperately needed to pray. And God broke through and spoke through and gave me the gift of repentance. It was more painful than the crisis but in a good way that only God can work.

Here's a few verses that He put in my mind today. Perhaps they will help you and me next time.

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (II Peter 1:9-10)

In such a state of guilt, I certainly forgot I was purged. Once restored, God gifted me again by reminding me that not only was I forgiven, but I was also not forsaken. He reminded me of my calling (to write) and election (I am!) so that I could relay this good news to others.

It's also a warning too my friends. Judgment is coming. Jesus is coming back soon as both Judge and Bridegroom. Deal with your sin now and be found faithful when He returns.

I was reminded to pray for my friends too. Like Job, God often restores me when I pray for my friends. For you, He wants you to know with certainty these words of truth: What are your spiritual gifts? Are you using them daily for God's glory? They are part of your calling. Do you know your calling? Have you forgotten?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Whom Do You Fear?

Growing up in the sixties, I remember vividly a commercial by the Ad Council. Of the many recorded quotes, FDR's 1933 first Inaugural Address"...the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" always stuck in my mind over the years. I suppose that during the Depression there was plenty to fear. Many of those same fears abound in today's recession.

Take a moment to read his address and notice the prolific use of Biblical overtones. What is blatantly missing? What is missing today? What is the Christian Church missing?

The fear of the LORD

So far in my studies I find three key reasons why this is so. Each one has a unique resonance.

  1. The fear of the LORD is not taught. Psalm 34:11
  2. God's commandments are not obeyed. Ecclesiastes 12:13
  3. Everything seems perfectly normal. Psalm 55:19

Take a moment to ponder that last one. I can write no more on this because I am soaking on that last point myself before the throne for many days now. I am desperately trying to learn to to battle this and teach others how to break into what I'll call an abnormal Christian life. But it is the life, the only life, that Jesus talks about when He declares, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life." And we as Christians are for the most part missing it entirely because we choose to live the normal life of this world. Proverbs 1:29

Whom do you fear?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

More Work

Up until my latest job, I have never reported directly lower than the company President. So after many years I was very used to a certain work atmosphere, perks, and schedule. Then I went to my current job and started at the bottom of the totem pole. Although the promotions came fast, I'm still far from mahogany row. From a secular viewpoint, this has had its good points and bad points with me. What God is doing with me however, is teaching me to put that all away. For instance, I leave promotions to His timing.

This is what I have learned from Psalm 75:6-7, "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge : he putteth down one, and setteth up another."

My wife andI have also learned how to rely solely upon God for our daily bread. There was a time in my professional life when we went without a paycheck for nine months. But we never lacked for any good thing. And we never had more than was necessary. It was a tough time but a great time to praise God. We often think of it to remember how good God is. "...give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Proverbs 30:8-9)

In all this God is preparing us for the great leap into the world of full-time writing. God is doing a perfect job leading me there. It is my calling. He is making a straight path. He will do the same for you. Do you trust Him?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Work of the LORD

I wholeheartedly believe that Christians are called to no other work than full-time work for God. Secular work simply does not fit this calling. I will provide both Biblical and logical reasons for this assertion. Then I will discuss some of the dissentions.

The logical reason for this is that Christians cannot fulfill the Great Commission that we have all received during regular work hours at a secular job. It is simply not ethical to do so. And the fact is, we are all called to make disciples and/or be witnesses according to Acts 1:8. There is nothing more important on this earth while we live here than to do this work of the Lord.

What is that work of the Lord?

It is found it I Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. " Based on the context of this chapter, our work of the Lord is the transmission of the Gospel according to the commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Look at the three commands that Paul gives in this verse: stedfast, unmoveable, and always abounding. If you read these in black and white as I do, then the Biblical conclusion is that as ministers of the Gospel, we are to be about that work all the time, nothing impeding, nothing taking its place, nothing of sustenance other than this work.

Pay attention to the calling of God. It is different for every Christian. Some, like me, are called as writers. Others are pastors, teachers, evangelists, and other occupations that meet His calling criteria. The most important to pay attention to is your spiritual gift. I use my spiritual gift of prophecy to work as a writer.

What do you believe is your full-time calling of God? I'd like to know your story.