Sincerely Wrong

On this date in 1992 God did a work in my heart that has been growing and changing my perspective of all of life. On that day I knew that I had a new heart and a new spirit. I was a babe in Christ, delivered from the power of darkness into His kingdom (Colossians 1:13). He has fed me and led me, brought me and taught me. He has reformed my thinking and continues to transform me by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). Sounds like a miracle, right? And it is.

To this day I am still amazed at who He is; of the Son that our heavenly Father has given to His children, to which He has drawn me; and the power of the Holy Spirit that is at work in the world today bringing His kingdom into hearts and lives, and His will being done. I did not say, just to me; although at times I, like Elijah, in special times think that I am His only child.

He has so blessed that I have been able to teach my grandchildren things that I did not teach my own children. I did not know these things. I had not grown up in the deep things of God. What I knew of God I had learned in the kiddies’ pool. Never learning to swim I always stayed in the shallow end. But I could speak as loud as all the others of what I knew and stood firmly on it.

img_20130213_091842-1-e1360744480225As He has taken me by my right hand and is guiding me with His counsel, preparing me for His glory (Psalm 73) I am still learning. As my Shepherd, He is still teaching me of His protection, His direction, and His correction. This role for His people, His sheep, comes with the promise of all three. We usually want the first two, but not the last.

From our prideful nature we never think we can be wrong. We hate to be wrong about anything. And as the followers of Christ we think we have everything down pat; so we tend as sheep to stand on our back legs and argue our points. The most powerful means of our growth as lambs is to be corrected; either by the reading or preaching of His word, or by another Christian.

The rod and staff are His means of keeping us on the right path; even if it means humiliation. This is the example set by our Lord. “He learned obedience by the things He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

If we are to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) we must be humble and open to what other people are saying; but with a discerning mind and heart. We pray daily that He speak to us through His word, through our circumstances and through others. I have discovered myself to be sincerely wrong at times; and grateful that the Lord did not leave me in my ignorance.

The Center and the Periphery
How do we have an open mind and yet guard our hearts with a sure foundation of faith? The center of all things is the most important. If that is sure then everything that revolves around it will be brought into the right perspective. When we are in Christ, and Christ is in us, His Spirit is our counselor enabling us to see everything from His point of view. He is our peace and wisdom in all things. The things closest to Him and His heart are revealed to us. The things on the periphery may not be so sure, but we are not entangled nor our faith disrupted by these things. We can calmly listen; agree; or disagree when it is done in love and humility.

From Christ, His wisdom and perception we are free to open our minds to those who are in Christ. We can discern where they are coming from. It is those who are humble and who share their faith in Christ that we want to listen to. Even if they are sincerely wrong we can, from our center in Christ, reason through as we pray for His guidance. There is no sense in trying to convince others of any point if Christ is not the center. We can get through only when there is an open door. He must open the door of other hearts.

Staying focused through His word and prayer is the key to love and humility. This is the secret to our training, our growing, and the light that draws others from the periphery to the center of all of life, Jesus Christ.

 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear:”
1 Peter 3:15

 “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?
let him shew out of a good conversation his works
with meekness of wisdom.”
James 3:13

 Dear Father, sanctify our minds, hearts and tongues today. Fill them with Christ, the truth, your will and your way. In Jesus’ name I pray.

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Little Kids Grow Up to be Big Kids ~ Goats

Jesus warns us that there will be a separation of the sheep from the goats.

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:32

Where did parents get the idea of calling children “kids?”  I can’t find any solid information on this expression.  But besides searching for this in history, what are we saying when we use this word for the children God has given us?

Does God anywhere in His Word call us kids?  No ~ His children are sheep.  This puts a totally different light upon how we look at, and bring up our children.
They are lambs ~ not goats.  We may all act like goats at times, pushing and shoving one another, wild in our nature; but God, our Father has born us into a new nature through Jesus Christ’s work, and life,  and His Spirit within us.

Should we not also treat our children as if they are His children, though they do not yet act like it.  If we treat them as kids, letting them run wild in the field of this world they will indeed fulfill such vision as we have for them.

On the other hand if we consider them as “lambs,” doing for them what our heavenly Father does for us, we will provide for them, lead them, assure them, and nurture them ~ bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4) “discipline and instruction.” (ESV)

We will be a shepherd to them.  We will protect them, direct them, and correct them.
We will project to them the path, in which ~ and the goal ~ to which,  we are going together.  They will, in the process, come to understand their true role, and the purpose for their being a lamb of God.

The “kids” of this world are becoming the “goats” of tomorrow.  God’s “lambs” are becoming the sheep He expects them to be.  Only He can take a goat and make him a sheep.  “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “and have put on the new self, which is renewed in the knowledge of Him who created him.”  (Colossians 3:10)

The “lamb that was slain” became the shepherd that leads us to be the parents of His children ~  special gifts of life to us.  Give yourself to the “true Shepherd” and allow Him to work in you to bring up His children for His glory, your joy, and the joy of your family and others.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think,”
by His power of grace working in us.
Ephesians 3:20

Psalm 23

Dear Father in heaven, “hold me by my right hand; guide me with your counsel.”  “Lead me in the paths of righteousness, for your name’s sake.”  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.