Friday, May 31, 2013


In the present day, Christians may very well be spending too much time listening to what the world system says about moral standards. I'm aware that it's hard NOT TO when the media, including the all powerful, ever present, social media, reflects an agenda that is secularistic and seems to constantly pound away with their message of moral relevance.

If we're not careful, we'll find ourselves suffering from a "paralysis of analysis" on moral issues that is based on our culture and we'll lose sight OUR OWN standard for the Christian life in the chaos of it all. [Remember we're not speaking of legal standards or laws here, but moral standards.

Let me give an example of what I'm talking about. Secularism tells us it is wrong to "judge" another person's moral actions. [And they may be correct to a point as we shall see in a momentOf course what they're saying is an oxymoron if you think about it.]  We're told by our culture, which is obviously a pluralistic society, that judging what someone else does as morally right or wrong, IS wrong. Period!

The "politically correctness police"will tell us that everyone is entitled to an opinion about what is right and wrong morally for themselves and that is because there is neither an absolute standard nor an over riding authority, for anyone. There is nothing except the individual's right to do as he or she pleases. If someone says an action is morally right or wrong, they are trampling on the rights of others to do as they please and are guilty of judging. They will even use the bible against us by pointing out that even Jesus said, "Judge not." [ Matthew 7:15]

The problem with this, apart from the fact that Jesus  [It was really Paul the Apostle under inspiration] ALSO said, "The one who is spiritual [Christian] judges ALL THINGS." [1 Corinthians 2:15]  is the fact that Christians DO have an over riding authority based on citizenship in ANOTHER Kingdom, under another King. [King Jesus] He, then, has the right to, and, in fact, does have His own standard for Kingdom living and our loyalty is to that King and His standard.

But, to settle the issue of judging once and for all, we need to remember that in the Kingdom of Heaven, ONLY GOD does the judging or condemning and His judgments are conclusive and final. Ours is NOT TO JUDGE, but to announce forgiveness and grace in our message of the Cross and to live that forgiveness and grace having already received it as our way of life. 

So, as Christians, we're not going to judge [condemn] anyone anyway. [Read that as setting our culture right in their standards.] That's beyond our pay-grade at the moment. And it is not our gospel message at all. That would reduce our message to a moralistic message rather than a redemptive one which is what happens with a cultural correcting emphasis in our thinking and our speaking. The only one we do "judge" [Discern the value of] is ourselves individually, and that's in relation to living out our King's standard in all of life. 1 Corinthians 2:15]

But this has nothing to do with, and I repeat, nothing to do with, IMPOSING OUR JUDGMENT of right or wrong on anyone else. The word "judge" is the Greek word "krino" and means, among other things, to choose or to determine FOR OURSELVES and NO ONE ELSE. Please don't let anyone lead you astray here either because that is what Kingdom living is all about. [Establishing laws for a nation is a different issue entirely and has to do with our American citizenship.]

The problem our secular society faces with us as Christians is NOT that we going to condemn THEM [we shouldn't either] for their LACK of a moral standard of right and wrong, but that we choose FOR OURSELVES a moral standard of right and wrong that our King has placed in our hearts, by which we live, which is certainly contrary to the opinion of secular society, and that automatically eats at them. [Which is totally understandable by the way.]

So when secularism tells Christians that they must NOT choose for themselves a right standard [about sexuality for example] that God has placed in their hearts as a way of life, because, in choosing for themselves what is right, [sexuality is our example] they are, in fact, "judging" others who choose differently, our culture/world is simply attempting to push Christians into a life of relativism which is the antithesis of Kingdom living. [This, since most Christians hold biblically that ALL sexual practices outside marriage between a man and a woman is missing the mark and sex inside of marriage is by mutual agreement and mutual respect only.]

So, as Christians, our responsibility is to resist a secular world that hates God and lives in moral relativism and to choose what is right for ourselves and EXPECT DISSENSION. But that is a tough thing to do for Christians who are announcing peace to people. We love peace. We love people. We've been told by our King, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." We don't like dissension. It's not pleasant. It's even against our new nature.

But, we don't hear Jesus advocating that we "get along with everyone" either. Jesus certainly didn't mind upsetting people. He engaged in conflict with the Pharisees when necessary who were the "Political Correctness Police," at least of the religious culture of their day. So there is to be no loss of nerve where Christians are concerned.

What IS required is faith AND courage. That courage is NOT to set a lost culture straight [think Westboro here] as much as it is to interpret the times in which we live, and choose FOR OURSELVES what is right in Kingdom living as we share our message of the Cross and God will take care of the world IN THAT DAY He has appointed and placed in His Son's hands for judgment, if that message is rejected.

Now if someone is reading this and thinks, "Why that's too easy." I would suggest you try it and then we'll talk about what's easy.

Paul B.   

Saturday, May 25, 2013


No matter the idealism Mary and I both had about love when we first married fifty-four years ago next Tuesday, May 28th, the ugly truth is we knew little to nothing about the subject. With our individual unique perspective about the marriage union, hers, an idea of subjection that was more gender and culture driven than biblical, but which went under the name of Christianity as taught by most of the "Christian authorities" at the time, and mine, a desire for control that was birthed in a chaotic alcoholic environment and was fed by that same cultural view of headship/submission parading at the time as Christianity, we married.

Our journey, with all the struggles that ensued through the years and with the slow experiencing of biblical light and grace that ultimately galvanized our understanding of what true love and marriage are all about, has been proven worth it for both of us. I think we've discovered what real love is. I can honestly say that I would have NEVER been able to make it without someone like her as we grew to know ourselves and the truth about marriage and marital love. 

Our equal partnership in service to one another, rather than a cultural concept of control and submission, has proven both biblical and satisfying. Our knowledge of this and our commitment to each other, and to the Lord, was the glue needed during the difficult relational times we faced through the years. But our relationship has continued to survive, even grow, and has born fruit that I could never have imagined. Our kids survived us. [That was not easy.] They have grown. We have grown. Our marriage has endured and has become real love.

Now, since the Lord can and does get glory out of struggles and failures as well as successes, we can and do honestly tell of those struggles, without shame, as we have faced them. This, because rather than them diminishing God's work in us, they only enhance the worth and value of what He alone has done. Our greatest longing and prayer has been answered, our marriage has endured, and our love is real. 

Thank you Mary for being my sweetheart, my partner, my heroine, my wife. I love you beyond years and words.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Ben Stein is a comedian, movie star, writer of commentaries on economic, political, and social issues along with being a financial advisor. [Not always with the best advise.] He wrote the following in 2005 for a CBS Sunday morning commentary and I found it interesting. I guess he would say he believes the same way today. The "reaping what we sow" is certainly true today.

My confession: By Ben Stein

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God ? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'

Whether you agree or disagree with his politics, financial advice, comedy, or even his commentary, one has to wonder if the "We reap what we sow" part that Ben Stein mentioned should not be remembered on occasion. It's a biblical truth that cannot be denied.

Paul B.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


The Gosnell trial is over and it was the murder of a human being. But what amazes me is that there remains a question in the minds of some as to whether what Gosnell did was really morally wrong or not.

The evidence that the question is still a lingering one seems to be born out by the fact that while the murder rate in our country has plummeted in recent decades in almost every age group in our society, there is one group where the murder rate has doubled in that same time period. That group, according to the National Center for Health Statistics is___BABIES LESS THAN A YEAR OLD.

 I believe this fact indicates that killing preborn babies leads to the thinking that killing newborn babies, as was done in the Gosnell case, is a viable, if not legal, option. Where does this come from? Let me tell you what my opinion is on that.

Two Bioethicists, [Bioethics is the philosophical study of the ethical controversies brought about because of advances in biology and medicine.]  Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva have argued for what they call "after-birth" abortions, [which I would call murdering children] on the grounds that, and I quote them, "Both a fetus and a newborn baby certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a 'person' in the sense of possessing 'a moral right to life." 

These two men are unlikely to be well known among my peer group, but what they are advocating is held by many who are pro-abortion and is based on their belief that, according to them, "Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life." 

If you're wondering what, in their opinion, constitutes the justification for killing a newborn, their answer is, "Any circumstance where the newborn would be putting the well-being of the family at risk, even if it has the potential for an 'acceptable' life." They list Down Syndrome as an example of such a circumstance.

But the Gosnell case shows that there are many circumstances that qualify in the minds of Giubilini and Minerva followers for after-birth abortions, such as conditions of poverty, too many children already being present in the family, stress experienced by the pregnant woman or a myriad of other reasons. 

My opinion is, this is nothing more than Eugenics, which is the science of improving the human population by controlled breeding to increase the possibility of desired ends. [Hitler revisited.] This is completely predictable since at the heart of the Pro-abortion arguments is a redefining of what it means to be a “person” which has proven to inevitably lead to infanticide.

Fortunately, I've found that, at the present time at least, many pro-choice advocates I read still find infanticide abhorrent. But I think if any one of them will honestly and carefully reflect on the people who research this issue, and their conclusions, they will  see that if pre-born human beings are not worthy of being called a person, then it is NOT difficult to see why it follows that a new-born human being need NOT be called a person either.

With the Gosnell trial in Philadelphia you see this all played out in living [or dying] color in the courtroom.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


We as Christians have personal responsibility for our own actions.  That should be a given to us, but it seems it isn't at all. I might add that we're not responsible, [except in special circumstances] for any other person's actions but our own.

That personal  responsibility is why our will being free in all things involving us is so very important.

 [Which is also why cultic-type relationships are, at best UNHEALTHY, and at worse DANGEROUS whether in a marriage or otherwise.

Our responsibility is only for our decisions and actions in response to those things said and done, with our best interest and KINGDOM PRINCIPLES IN MIND.

By implication, this means, as mentioned, that other people do not have responsibility or power over us, contrary to popular opinion, and should not have. [Except in special circumstances.]  Our popular wrong opinion about this is evidenced by our talk. We often say, "they [Whomever they might be] made me do that," or "They made me feel this way."

But,"They" don't "make" us "feel" any way or "cause" us to "do" any thing. [Even though we're masters at convincing ourselves they do.]  Our "actions"are ours because of OUR OWN WILL and flowing from that will, is our behavior. Just as true is that what we "feel" is a result of and because of, OUR OWN WAY OF THINKING. "For as a person thinks in his heart, [mind] so is he.." [In his actions and feelings]: Prov. 23:7

"They" [Whomever they might be] may present us with challenges, which do require decisions in responding and renewed thinking for sure. But the responsibility for our actions or our thinking is OURS ALONE.

This is important for many reasons, but one reason is a relational one.  Suppose we think when we do or say something that we believe is nice and good, that others should appreciate. But they don't!  This surprises us and makes us angry. [We think.]  In fact, we could get down and depressed, and even  decide to cut them off RELATIONALLY.

So we wind up thinking and feeling the part of a "victim." [If they had just______ I'd be alright. It's their fault we don't relate.] Then we've shirked any personal responsibility for our own actions and feelings entirely.

It's called the blame game. It didn't help in the garden of Eden and it won't help in our relational garden either. THAT'S NOT GOOD!

[We're not speaking here of situations that would be illegal, immoral, abusive, controlling, thus, unbiblical. That's a different story and another post entirely].

Here is the point in my saying all this.

The scripture indicates that in everything we are "more than conquerors" rather than "victims."But this assumes two things to be our experience. One is that Christ has become our our life, by faith.  [That's becoming a Christian.] THAT'S VERY GOOD.

The other is that, because He is our life, we are a new creation and are empowered by faith to do and be that new person, responsibly. [That's being the Christian we're become.]  THAT'S VERY VERY GOOD!

Paul B.  

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Christianity [The Kingdom of God] is not to be equated with any particular nation or any national political philosophy IMHO.

This doesn't mean that as a nation we can't see God's grace and blessing on us and thank Him for that since He causes [grace] the rain and sun [blessings] to fall on the just and the unjust. [Matthew 5:45] But since the nation of Israel in the Old Testament fulfilled her purpose by bringing the Messiah into this world, there has ONLY been one holy nation and that is the one spoken of by Peter when referring to the Church, also called the Bride of Christ. [1 Peter 2:9

I also do not believe any political system on this earth can correctly be connected with Christianity as it's source. For instance, neither socialism nor capitalism is Christian at it's root. There may be some over-lapping in those two political views and Christianity, but each is distinct and an overlap is not representative of the whole area of concern.

Think three circles drawn with a slight overlap of the three. [I read this somewhere and my math major wife tells me it's called a Vinn diagram.] There's a lot more area NOT shared than IS shared.  Let me illustrate using Socialism and Capitalism, [Think any other political system as well.] compared to Christianity........ 

1__Personal profit is the goal of Capitalism, but it is NOT the goal of Christianity.
2__The redistribution of personal assets according to need is the goal of socialism, but it is NOT the goal of Christianity. 
3__Conversion to a belief in Christ Jesus as Lord and becoming a citizen of His Kingdom, is the goal of Christianity. But it is NOT the goal of Socialism or Capitalism.

As I said, there will a bit of over-lapping of course. Christianity DOES have some redistribution responsibilities, for example, when widows [Acts 6] and others are in need. [The Jerusalem church under persecution.] And Christians ARE FREE to make a profit as seen in Paul's tent-making. [Acts 18-21]

But the showing of grace and mercy seen in the message of Christ dying for us, which is called the gospel, IS NOT the message of Socialism or Capitalism or Americanism for that matter. But it IS the message of Christian. Then the bible becomes our moral compass as Christians. [And it correctly deals with the nature and character of fallen man I might add.] 

As you can see,  just because there is a slight overlapping does not mean they represent the same thing at all. To say it clearly, we recognize that being a Muslim means you can't be a bible kind of Christian. Neither can you be a bible kind of Christian if seeking personal profit is your ultimate or primary goal. [Capitalism] Nor can you be a bible kind of Christian if redistribution of wealth and personal assets is your ultimate or primary goal. [Socialism] Mixing either one of these with the Christian message is dangerous.

There is a point made in  Deuteronomy 22:9 that is interesting to me. It says, "You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, for all of the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled."

That verse offers a principle [Much like don't muzzle the ox that treads the corn] which may have some bearing on our message as Christians today. The two seeds idea can be seen in illustrative form in the two different sources for Christianity and Americanism this way......

The Bible is the source book of guidance for the Kingdom of God living. It's citizens [Christians] are under it's Ruler King Jesus. This guiding source book [The Bible] is seen by followers of Christ as both God-breathed and infallible.

The Constitution is the source document for guidance for the American Republic living.  It's citizens [And all religions therein] are under that documents as a Rule of Law and this guiding source document  [the Constitution] is simply man-breathed and is fallible.

When Christians address, in message form, what they think the government should do on some political issue using the Bible instead of the Constitution as a political tool, things can get dicey. [For Muslims to use Sharia law produces the same diceyness.] It is the mixing of the seed of the two messages that must be guarded against because it's destructive.

Let me hasten to say three things here however....[This is rather lengthy but very important.]

One__ Any Christian can speak about any issue using the bible as their source of guidance. But when they do it, they are speaking AS A CHRISTIAN, having a higher allegiance to the bible than our allegiance to the Constitution or any other man-made document. This is important on behavioral issues based on moral conscience. 

Two__Any American can speak about any issue using the Constitution as their source of guidance, but when they do it, they are speaking as an American citizen, regardless of their religious association, and are bringing the AMERICAN MESSAGE of Federal Law to bear on America's political and social relationships. So they are addressing ONLY things legal, with national, personal and relational behavior and actions in mind.

Three__When a nation makes a moral issue, a political and even a legal one, as in say abortion, a Christian MUST speak to that issue. But will, of necessity, be speaking both morally and politically when they do speak. So it's legitimate, it seems to me, for Christians TO USE BOTH MESSAGES.  The one being the Christian message, [Bible] because the American society is trying to make a moral issue a legal one, and the other being the American message of law, [Constitution] since it is now a legal issue that American Christians face. We Christians are forced to think clearly about both. It's tricky, but it can be done. 

This was the very thing Paul the Apostle faced when beaten and wrongfully imprisoned. But he did not use the Bible principle of "preaching the gospel to all nations" [Matt 28:19-20] as the grounds for demanding his freedom to do so when Rome refused to leave him alone. He used Roman law as a Roman citizen. and he was willing to pay the consequences of any law violated if it conflicted with his fulfillment of a conscience or bible issue.

I believe we can speak about abortion on BOTH a moral [Bible] and legal basis. [Constitution] But making the clear distinction is important when carrying on a debate AND knowing the audience helps determine which is used.  What is wonderful is when a Christian is articulate enough and can make arguments from both moral and legal grounds.

Now, were we to find ourselves facing any kind of consequences of our sharing our true message because of a law established forbidding it, [or any moral issue because of a law that our government establishes] we would fight for our free speech rights to continue to do so by challenging the law based on the document that is our source for law as Americans. [The Constitution] Thus, we would be bringing the American message of Constitution law [freedom of speech] to bear on our life at this point.

 If there were to be a law against us sharing the gospel, violating our free speech amendment, and we couldn't get the law changed, as Christians, we would then fulfill our higher allegiance to our Lord and His Word and embrace any legal consequences for doing so. This is in living color what the previously mentioned experience of Paul the Apostle was all about.

It goes without saying that I'm grateful for our Founding Fathers who were also members of the Kingdom of God and under King Jesus as Lord, But I'm also grateful for those of our Founding Fathers who were NOT Christians and YET accepted the reality of a Divine Being as revealed in Natural Law and saw Him as the source of the unalienable rights embedded in the Constitution and the Bill Of Eights that guide us in establishing our rule of law as Americans. I could hope we would never leave or lose that belief.

But never forget that as American citizens we are protected from enforced belief in any deity.  

This is why I personally, when speaking of the gospel of Christ, do not tie it in with Americanism or any government system. But when speaking of government and, say, socialism, which I personally do not hold to politically, or government and capitalism, which I do hold to, I speak as an American citizen.

But when speaking on moral issues that become politicized, and I see my moral guidance coming from the bible, yet am forced to address what is law on that issue, I speak as a Christian who is an American citizen. It helps me keep my seed [message] separate and some corruption in my thinking is avoided.

It may not work for you but it does work for me.[And that good even though I'm not a pragmatist.]

Paul B.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


I knew from the very beginning that I was "saved by grace." With my history and personal background it was a given that I needed grace. All I was capable of doing were things no one in their right mind would call good and certainly not pure. It didn't take being a rocket scientist to figure out that I needed God's help. So, Grace as shown in the Person and Work of Christ became real to me. I became a believer. My message was one of grace from the outset. It's called the gospel.

But, that said, It took me some years to realize that the same grace that saved me was the grace by which I was to live. So I began a walk according to the law. Oh it wasn't the law of Moses, although I did somewhat embrace the 10 commandments as the foundation of the way I was suppose to live, it was the law of logic for me.

My logic went this way. Knowing no one could ever repay Jesus completely for what He did for them, I believed I did need to spend the rest of my life trying to. So a pay back journey began. Back then that sounded spiritual, at least to me, but it wasn't. It was works. I was, indeed, saved by grace but  was trying to live by the works of the law. [My law of logic.] 

You may be asking, "What does that law of logic look like?"  The answer is it looks like what I heard one person call, "An ash tray full of buts." [Thus the picture with apologies to cigarette butts.]  I knew I was saved by grace, "but!......" [There it is.] There was ALWAYS an "I know it is all of grace.... "but."

You see, in my mind, there were things I needed to do to keep grace from being cheap. I owed Him my all and I wanted to show up for the parade of working to pay Him back. [Remember, I'm not talking about salvation here.] Little did I know that what cheapens grace is to think you can add anything to it, even in your walk. Thus, my walk became "do this," "do that," "or do the other," instead of realizing what "had already been done" and walking in that reality.

This, inevitably and subtly, shifted my focus from Him and His work, to me and my work. It will ALWAYS do that. Instead of learning to be impressed by what He had done, I was trying to impress Him with what I was doing so He'd know I really loved Him for what He had done. Make sense? It did to me.

So, as you can see,  my first "but" mixed with grace was, "But I owe Him my all and had better show Him by doing all I can".  [The ash tray will be full of "buts" before we're finished.] 

Another "but" mixed with grace in my life was, I knew that Jesus had saved me, "but" if I didn't study the bible and understand doctrine I would never be able to know what to do. I had to know "bible truth" so I could have a game plan of performance. As you can see, I wound up not reading the scriptures to see Jesus at all. (Lk 24:27) My purpose was to learn, what I ought to do? Does this remind you of what Jesus said to the Pharisees at all?  [John 5:39]

I developed a little knowledge of this doctrine, a little knowledge of that doctrine, and became doctrinally correct in many ways. But, sadly, I ended up thinking all scripture was profitable for me to know ONLY as it showed me how to live. That's far from having my "eye on Jesus alone." 

I failed to filter what I read through the finished work of the cross, I read someone say it this way, "I unwittingly poisoned myself about the Christian life." I was mixing the death-dealing words of my own "law of shoulds" with the life-giving "words of grace." Although I thought I was zealous for the Lord, I was really only zealous for my own law.  I wound up with a STRONGER CONNECTION to the WRITTEN WORD than I had with the LIVING WORD.  Another "but" in my ashtray of useless things on my journey because my time in the Word was about ME and not HIM. 

There is yet another "but" that I mixed with grace. It was..."But"__ I need more from God so I can live the Christian life.  Now this is REALLY subtle. I kept looking for something to help me live the Christian life to it's fullest. But I was searching for the very things that He had already provided IN CHRIST. I would ask for more faith instead of living by the faith of the Son of God (Ga 2:20). I would ask for more peace without knowing He was my peace. [Ephesians 2:14] I would ask for more victory without realizing He had already won the victory and my victory was trusting that fact. [1 John 5:4]

I was always asking for something more.  I read books on "How To_____," went to conferences to learn "how to____," and you can fill in the blanks. On and on to find ways to help me do my"shoulds."Never satisfied with Christ alone.  [The ashtray was full and was dirty and stank.]

I didn’t realize that I had already been blessed with every spiritual blessing IN CHRIST, and that I was deeply loved, and highly favored, IN CHRIST. [Ephesians 1:3]  So in my ignorance I wasted a whole lot of time asking for things that were already mine. This "but" had brought me to thinking I was being spiritual and faithful when in reality I was fleshly and faithless.     

The tragedy of all this is simple. You just do not mix anything with real grace. In true grace you sit in it, you walk in it, you stand in it. [Taken from Watchman Nee's book on Ephesians entitled, Sit_Walk_Stand.]  But in subtle ways I preferred rules to relationship and what I really craved were clear Biblical guidelines for living. I thought I was choosing good, but then so did Adam. Adam and I both had an independent spirit that led us to eat from the wrong tree and the result was nothing more than dead works.

It was when I discovered that as a believer I was called upon in the New Covenant to repent of dead works that I was finally shaken.

Dead works are the things religious people do thinking that by doing those things they are gaining something from God.
If I pray because I think it will make me better with God, it's a dead work. if I read my bible thinking it will make me better with God, it's a dead work. If I go to church.....
You get the idea.

But if I pray or read my bible or witness or go to a gathered church meeting because I know the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST is mine and I AM ACCEPTED BY PAPA and I know THAT HE LOVES ME UNCONDITIONALLY, instead of all those things making me better with Him, I find the power to live already present in my life. His name is Jesus. [That's shouting ground.]

Now don't get me wrong here, which some might be prone to do. I'm not saying you don't do certain things. Of course you do. Perhaps everything I've mentioned in this post, in fact. But you don't focus on them or keep track of them so you can measure yourself by them because they are not for measuring anything about youThey are simply your response of love to His great acts of grace in Christ that have already made you acceptable. It is simply you learn to live as a son instead of a slave.

So, my mixed bag was discarded. The "buts" were thrown out and the ashtray was emptied, gone, removed. The stench of dead works was also removed and the sweet aroma of grace is now the atmosphere of life itself. His name is Jesus.

Paul B.