Betwixt . . .

brothers

© Jeanne E Webster – All rights reserved.

 

 

Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would.“

 

“Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;

There’s one that’s brokenhearted for his sins

And one who, unrepentant, sits and grins;

There’s one who loves his neighbor as himself

And one who cares for naught but fame and pelf.

From such corroding care I would be free

If once I could determine which is me.”

~~ Edward Sanford Martin

 

The above verse is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I would imagine that it holds true for most us. This body, for a Christian, is quite hard to control, to rein in, and to subdue. To put it frankly, the Christian life is a battlefield. The flesh desires to sin; the Spirit is constrained to obey the things of the Spirit. Every day we are made aware of the constant battle between the two natures.

Paul continues with a stark comparison of the two natures:

The works of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual excesses, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings….

[Paul adds some powerful drama here with this warning…”As I have told you before in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”]

But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. The differences are startling.

As in any war, action must be taken in order to achieve victory. The finger points at each one of us, dear Christians. Will we remain passive and continue to tolerate the works of the flesh within us? Or shall we rear up off our sanctified haunches and give way to the power of the Spirit to crucify this flesh? The victory has already been won; we merely have to give the “Charge!”

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

mirror.jpg

© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved.

The self-seeking soul is a robber, for he steals from God that which belongs to Him and takes for himself that which belongs to others. Not only does self-seeking carry on its devilish work out in the world but also in the gatherings of religious people, in the house of the righteous, even in the hearts of those who desire to follow the unselfish Jesus. It is self-seeking when one desires to appear more pious than others, to pray more beautifully than others, when one always wants to have the advantage for oneself. But the scriptures say, “Cursed be the deceiver.” Malachi 1:14 K.J.V. ~by G. Steinberger from Footprints

After reading and deeply gleaning from old Malachi, I must admit: I have been, still am at times, A DECEIVER! Meditate on Malachi 1:6-14 and see what you find within your spirit. Are you a deceiver also? Think about that.

You’d think I would have gotten over my SELF by now, being a Christian for over half a century. Are you over your SELF now, my Christian friend? Let me warn you; it’s all too easy to answer, “Yes.” I ploughed through my motive file and polished it up with all the honesty I could muster… and saw the real ME. I was shocked and ashamed, for SELF had deceived me. My motives were the clear indicators, the defining marks.

I realize I need some soul therapy, some deep-down soul cleansing. Like that old song goes, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair”…well, I’m gonna wash that SELF right outta my soul. Oops … wrong again. I can’t rid my spirit of selfishness, but I know a Man who can: Jesus Christ, my Lord and King. There’s a tiny bit of selfishness in this article I’m writing right now. I know it. I feel it. I will pray the Lord remove it. I have no need to boast, except in the Lord Jesus. In Him I will live and breathe throughout all eternity.

Amen

Between Heaven and Hell . . . There’s a Cross

thorns

.

Between Heaven and Hell . . . There’s a Cross

 © 2011 Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

 

The cost of following Jesus has a steep price tag, particularly in family relationships.

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, No, rather division. From now on there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

A daughter accepts Christ as her Savior and her life changes. She begins to exhibit characteristics of a Christian, and her family is taken aback. Soon they are estranged and the costs begin to mount up for the girl. She suffers hateful accusations meant to prompt a change in her faithfulness to Christ.

“Well, hello Miss Goody Two shoes!”

“Who do you think you are?”

“You’re not fun anymore.”

“We’re not good enough for you anymore?”

“You’ve stopped swearing.”

“Gee, you’re as phony as a two-dollar bill.”

“You’re not my daughter anymore!”

“Don’t cram that Jesus stuff down our throats.”

“You’re not welcome here till you change back to your old self.”

“You can go to hell for all we care!”

.

We pay a steep price for our fellowship with Jesus. Our Lord warned us that we would be scorned, hated and abused, but our reward is heavenly.

Luke 9: 26 “If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily. Whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, will save it. What’s your reward if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?”

.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

 

Refrain:

Than to be the king of a vast domain

And be held in sin’s dread sway;

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today. 

 

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

 

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

~Rhea F. Miller, 1922

 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

© Jeanne E Webster

“The self-seeking soul is a robber, for he steals from God that which belongs to Him and takes for himself that which belongs to others.  Not only does self-seeking carry on its devilish work out in the world but also in the gatherings of religious people, in the house of the righteous, even in the hearts of those who desire to follow the unselfish Jesus.  It is self-seeking when one desires to appear more pious than others, to pray more beautifully than others, when one always wants to have the advantage for oneself.  But the scriptures say, “Cursed be the deceiver.”  Malachi 1:14 KJV

~by G. Steinberger from Footprints

 

After reading and deeply gleaning from old Malachi, I must admit:  I have been, still am at times, A DECEIVER!  Meditate on Malachi 1:6-14 and see what you find within your spirit.  Are you a deceiver also?  Think about that.

You’d think I would have gotten over my self by now, being a Christian for over half a century.  Are you over your self now, my Christian friend?  Let me warn you; it’s all too easy to answer, “Yes.”  I ploughed through my motive file and polished it up with all the honesty I could muster… and saw the real ME.   I was shocked and ashamed, for SELF had deceived me.  My motives were the clear indicators, the defining marks.  I realize I need some soul therapy, some deep-down soul cleansing.  Like that old song went, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair…well, I’m gonna wash that self right outta my soul.”

Oops, wrong again.  I can’t rid my spirit of selfishness, but I know a Man who can:  Jesus Christ, my Lord and King.  There’s a tiny bit of selfishness in this article I’m writing right now.  I know it.  I feel it.  I will pray the Lord remove it.  I have no need to boast, except in the Lord Jesus.  In Him I will live and breathe throughout all eternity.

Shalom

NAILS AND THORNS

 

 

 

THE NAILS AND THE THORNS 

 

 

Matthew 16:24 “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”

 

During this Lenten season let us reflect upon Jesus’ call to deny self and take up our cross and follow Him.

Self-denial is a cross. It lurks behind the shadowy cobwebs of our consciousness like a phantom shaman shaking its nail-and-thorn studded rattle at our measly attempts to curb its monstrous appetite for self-satisfaction. We try to avoid these nails and thorns at all costs because they hurt…they sting…they smart.

Where do we stand in regards to these nails and thorns?

  • When confronted with disparaging situations among our brethren, do we stifle our desire to cause strife?
  • When enticed to become involved with distasteful things, do we choose to obey Christ and live godly lives?
  • When we become totally wrapped up with work and family, do we submit to that still small voice that bids us find time to help the widows, visit the shut-ins, and give to the poor?
  • When facing false accusations and deeds from evil doers, do we face them with our Lord’s directive to turn the other cheek?

 

These are but some of the moments when “nails and thorns” rear their ugly heads in our consciousness. These are the causes of the “blood trickling down our brows and spurting from our heads and feet”. Nails and thorns have a way of doing that.

If and when we answer Christ’s call to deny ourselves and take up our cross, some of these nails and thorns will surely cause us to stumble and fall. That is inevitable. We cannot be made perfect while in these fragile, selfish bodies. But Christ is there to lift us up and send us on our way again. He already walked this road. Remember?

“And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20