Archive for the ‘I’m Just Sayin’’ Category

 

Circumstance

  1. a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action.
    “we wanted to marry but circumstances didn’t permit”
    synonyms: situation, conditions, state of affairs, position;
  2. one’s state of financial or material welfare.
    “the artists are living in reduced circumstances”
    synonyms: financial position, lot, lifestyle;

We recently found ourselves through a series of conditions and facts (circumstances) short of the money that we needed to pay our bills.  To be truthful, some of the conditions were not avoidable, but some of them were of our own making.  I knew that when I examined the situation more closely we were going to find ourselves several hundred dollars short of the money that we needed to be current.  To make matters worse Allana was not really happy about a recent major purchase that I had made.  I was looking at having to tell her that now we were going to 1) be late on our bills and 2) really tighten up to get caught up, uncomfortably so.  There we have circumstances in a nutshell.  They are rarely simple.  They are often a mix of the unavoidable, poor decisions, right decisions with consequences and all the emotion and attitudes that human beings are prone too.  While this is not a piece on the theology of tithing, we have committed to that standard of giving.  Circumstances dictated that I should hold off on my tithe until we were caught up.  As I prayed over this situation the word hupomone (Biblical Perseverance) kept coming back to me.  All the cute Bible studies and all the nice character analysis are meaningless if hupomone does not impact my life where the rubber hits the road.  It is in the daily decisions and choices we make in the midst of circumstances that we choose the hupomone life.  Long story short I paid the tithe first as I knew that I should.  Then I went to look and see how bad it really was so that I could tell Allana.  As I surveyed our accounts, one that I rarely look at because I utilize it solely to pay the mortgage had several hundred extra dollars in it.  Believing it was an error I called the bank and they confirmed that I had received a refund from a miscalculation in the origination of our mortgage.  Bills paid with extra to spare.  The temptation is to say, even if I had not paid the tithe, the money still would have been there.  Perhaps that is true but hupomone living transcends circumstances.  The real victory is Spiritual not financial.  The flip side of it is that even if the extra money had not been provided and we ended up late and tight, the real victory is Spiritual not financial.  Hupomone living is about making choices guided by the Holy Spirit and based in the Word of God.  It is about living in our identity as children of God.

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:11-13

Paul did not allow his circumstances to dictate his identity.  This is at the core of the hupomone life.  Onesimus was sent home as a runaway slave but his identity was a brother in Christ.  David was a shepherd boy, the least among his brothers, but his identity was the anointed king of Israel.  Hebrews 11 walks through a litany of hupomone men and women (study to come from Allana and her True Beauty Group). In His home town those who knew him spoke out of his circumstances and it blinded them to Jesus’ identity as the only begotten son of God.  The core nature of the hupomone lifestyle transcends circumstances.  It rests on the rock of Christ’s identity.  This is what anchors the house of the wise man and its lack causes the foolish man’s house to fall into the shifting sands.   Each of these men walked through the fires of circumstance, the facts and conditions that stood in the face of God’s will for their lives.   They were not perfect (with the exception of Jesus) but they trusted God and not circumstance.

 

 

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A Facebook Post from Allana:15747885_10157951910710282_1166937839466352526_n

Lifelong commitment is not what everyone thinks it is. It’s not waking up early every morning to make breakfast and eat together. It’s not cuddling in bed together until both of you peacefully fall asleep. It’s not a clean home and a homemade meal every day.
It’s someone who steals all the covers. It’s sometimes slammed doors, and a few harsh words, disagreeing, and the silent treatment until your hearts heal. Then…forgiveness!
It’s coming home to the same person everyday that you know loves and cares about you, in spite of and because of who you are. It’s laughing about the one time you accidentally did something stupid. It’s about dirty laundry and unmade beds without finger pointing. It’s about helping each other with the hard work of life! It’s about swallowing the nagging words instead of saying them out loud.
It’s about eating the cheapest and easiest meal you can make and sitting down together at 10 p.m. to eat because you both had a crazy day. It’s when you have an emotional breakdown, and your love lays with you and holds you and tells you everything is going to be okay, and you believe them. It’s when “Netflix and chill” literally means you watch Netflix and hang out. It’s about still loving someone even though sometimes they make you absolutely insane.
Living with the person you love is not perfect, and sometimes it’s hard, but it’s amazing and comforting and one of the best things you’ll ever experience.
Go ahead and share a picture of the person you love and copy and paste this, make their day.
I love this picture of Samuel Guidry it is perfect. a pic of Sami showing off the purity rings that Sam got her for her 16th bday.

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FIFM

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6

God spoke this verse to Allana and I back in 2003.  We had only been together a couple of years.  These were difficult years.  Allana had to adjust to being married, having two sons and caring for our little Sami.  Chayla was born in April and to top it off I was working crazy hours.  In the midst of all of that God was doing incredible things in our lives.  Fan Into Flame Ministries was born out of that crucible.  The idea would grow and be tempered over the years by moments of spirit led engagement and by intense personal suffering.  For Allana these days bore the fruit of True Beauty.  For me the focus became Hupomone (because I am a geek and Greek is cool) or Patience, Endurance, Perseverance.  Yet still, it continued to be at the core, the call to Fan Into Flame that gift, in ourselves and in others.

Let’s back track a little.

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember * you in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Paul takes Timothy down memory lane for a minute.  He reminds him that he is Paul’s son in the faith.  Why does Paul do this?  He wants Timothy to remember a very special moment in his life, the moment that he received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The moment that God’s Gift was so graciously bestowed on a young man.  I have to wonder if Timothy didn’t tear up a little, thinking of his father in the faith facing death in Rome.  Perhaps he felt a little shame that the difficulties of ministry in Ephesus had worn him down.  Yet Paul tears all that away.  Striking to the core of Hupomone, without using the word, “Fan into flame the gift of God…”  There is nothing else that we can do to endure as children of God.

I have actually heard this verse taught as a call to utilize those very special and individual gifts that God has bestowed on each one of us.  However the context of the verses that follow this verse (not that He doesn’t desire each of us to serve him with all our gifts) make it clear that Paul is talking about one gift.  I will designate it the Gift.  The cool thing is that this Gift is the same for us all and yet manifests itself very differently in each of us.

7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

There it is, the Gift.  It is nothing less than God Himself given to each of us that believe and confess.  It is this Gift that makes us bold endowing us with power, love and self-discipline.  It is a special power available only through Jesus Christ.  It is power not as the world gives, or recognizes power.  It is the power to testify of Jesus and to stand with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is power that is inextricably joined to love.  Indeed 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that power without love is vain and useless.

8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

This Gift is one that empowers without limit, motivates in love and operates with self-discipline even as Christ Himself cried out in Gethsemane, “39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39  In a moment that the whole world around Him saw as the greatest weakness, Jesus exploded the chains of sin and death with the greatest demonstration of power, motivated by love and operating in Self-discipline as only God himself could.

9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

HE HAS SAVED US!  And called us by grace, a grace that is eternal.  But he did not just call us to a holy life and leave us to our own pitiful attempts.  He provided the Gift.  It is the Gift of revealed Grace.  It is the Gift of revealed Life Eternal.  It is the Gift of the Truth, the Gift of the Good News and Great Joy which shall be to all People.  It is the Gift that endows us with the same power that confounded the law and threw the world into confusion.  How foolish would we be not to fan THAT GIFT into flame in our lives.

 

 

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This is an expansion of my top 5 reasons that I shared on YES FM.  They got a pretty good response so I thought I would share the whole list.

 

Reason # 10

I live near Detroit so I am used to having the lions lose anyways

Reason # 9

He was smart enough to be out of town when they stoked up the fiery furnace

Reason # 8

He could actually say and spell Nebuchadnezzar correctly

Reason # 7

He was a vegetarian…oh no …wait…yep that is from the list of reasons NOT to like him

Reason # 6

Helen of Troy??? Whatever… Angels and Demons fought a war over him

Reason # 5

He has the coolest Veggie Tales Song Ever

Reason # 4

He didn’t get a dime of royalties from any of the diet/fasting plans that bear his name

Reason # 3

He got the coolest Babylonian name…who wouldn’t want to be called Belteshazzar.

Reason # 2

He is the only Politician/Civil Servant that I know of who was quoted by Jesus.

 

And my # 1 Reason for Liking Daniel

He was a true Hupomone Man, remaining “under God” as His servant through the rise and fall of Kings and Kingdom’s

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“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children… My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, And they have played the harlot, departing from their God. They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains And burn incense on the hills, Under oak, poplar and terebinth, Because their shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters play the harlot And your brides commit adultery.”  Hosea 4:6, 12-13

As you may have noticed I am studying Hosea.  I would like to thank Dr. Stephen Dempster of Crandall University for recommending Douglas Stuart’s works on Hosea and the Minor prophets. I came across these Characteristics of Idolatry in Word Biblical Themes Hosea-Jonah.  The parallels to modern life and modern Christianity are unmistakable.  While we may disdain the ancient Peoples who worshiped gods of wood, metal and stone I wonder how really far removed we are from them.

1.  Idolatry claimed to offer results that were guaranteed

2.  Idolatry indulged the selfish interests of people

3.  Idolatry was easy

4.  Idolatry was convenient

5.  Idolatry was normal

6.  Idolatry seemed logical

7.  Idolatry was pleasing to the senses

8.  Idolatry was indulgent

9.  Idolatry was erotic

The world has not changed so much in the last 3000 years in the way that it entices God’s people to abandon their covenant with him and in the way that it seeks to prevent the lost from finding Him.  The allure of idolatry is just as strong (if not stronger) today for God’s Church as it was for God’s People in the days of Hosea.  How we respond to the siren song of Neo-idolatry shapes our relationship to God on both a personal and corporate level.

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1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

How many times have I read this passage?  I would not even dare to guess.  Probably many more times than is apparent by the state of my love life.  BTW how is your love life?  Perhaps not an uncommon question among the sitcoms, romantic comedies and even dramas of the world.  As a Christian I should ask this question more often than I have.  However the key to the answer is not in the question.  It is rather in Paul’s words recorded (by the inspiration of God) in 1 Corinthians 13.  It is in the magnificent story of a God who fashions an incredible plan throughout history to teach his creation the truth about love, a truth that was lost so many centuries ago in a place called Eden.

So how is your love life?  The Prodigal son knew that his love life was great.  His family was rich, his friends abundant and I would imagine he was quite the ladies man.  On the world economy he was a love billionaire and he knew it.  So when his buddies asked, “How’s your love life?”  our boy could get a grin and say, “I am getting it all!  In fact I am going to go to my father and get even more!  My love life is going to be totally out of control then!”

“The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” Luke 15:11

I bet he walked away thinking how much he loved his old man.  He was caught up in love, the love of the world.  It is about what we can get.  It is about how people, actions and things make US feel.  It is an economy of love that is pervasive in the world and invasive in the Body of Christ.  It is an economy of love that can only be escaped by death and resurrection to new life and even then it is an economy of love that will sap the strength of the faithful, destroy families, destroy churches, destroy ministries and spread deception everywhere that it takes hold.  It is the great battle of Getting vs. Giving.  It is the economy of Love that left the prodigal penniless, friendless and without hope.  However we serve a God of hope, of redemption, of resurrection and of reconciliation so that no matter how deeply we have sunk into the World’s love He will welcome us home and kill the fatted calf for a feast beyond all expectation and imagination when we return to him.  No matter how broken we are Jesus is ready and willing to accept us into his Love, a love of giving even to the ultimate sacrifice.

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”   Phil. 2:4b-11

How’s your love life?  Give Giving a try.  The Bible gives us the rest of the story and I’ll give you a hint:  In G vs G, Giving wins.

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“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you , that God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth, but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  John 1:5-7

Walk in the light.  I have heard that grace is easy.  Walking in the light is not.  Walking in the light means denying everything that I am.  Walking in the light means absolutely giving up my independence.  Even more than that it means that I am responsible for the dependence of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

“This is the message you heard from the beginning:  We should love one another.  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother…”  1 John 3″11-12a

But you don’t understand she…but he…they deserved what they got.  There is no they fell in the body of Christ only WE fell.  “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  Hebrews 3:12-13

The Walk in the Light is a walk of fellowship.  It is a journey with companions.  The chief among them being our Lord Jesus Christ himself.  It is the narrow way.  It is the hard way.  It requires death and rebirth.  It is at once a rejection of all that I have been and a fulfillment of all that I was ever meant to be.

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