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Choosing the Lamb of God Over Barabbas

Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Articles, Burnout | Comments Off on Choosing the Lamb of God Over Barabbas

“‘Barabbas’ means ‘son of the father,’ His very name is a kind of caricature of the ‘Son of the Blessed,’ and his character and actions present in gross form the sort of Messias whom the nation really wanted. He had headed some one of the many small riots against Rome which were perpetually sputtering up and being trampled out by an armed heel. There had been bloodshed, in which he had himself taken part (‘a murderer,’ Acts iii. 14). And this coarse, red-handed desperado is the people’s favourite, because he embodied their notions and aspirations, and had been bold enough to do what every man of them would have done if he had dared. He thought and felt, as they did, that freedom was to be won by the sword. The popular hero is as a mirror which reflects the popular mind. He echoes the popular voice, a little improved or exaggerated. Jesus had taught what the people did not care to hear, and given blessings which even the recipients soon forgot, and lived a life whose ‘beauty of holiness’ oppressed and rebuked the common life of men. What chance had truth and kindness and purity against the sort of bravery that slashes with a sword, and is not elevated above the mob by inconvenient reach of thought or beauty of character? Even now, after nineteen centuries of Christ’s influence have modified the popular ideals, what chance have they? Are the popular ‘heroes’ of Christian nations saints, teachers, lovers of men, in whom their Christ-likeness is the thing venerated? The old saying that the voice of the people is the voice of God receives an instructive commentary in the vote for Barabbas and against Jesus. That was what a plebiscite for the discovery of the people’s favourite came to. What a reliable method of finding the best man universal suffrage, manipulated by wirepullers like these priests, is! and how wise the people are who let it guide their judgments, or still wiser, who fret their lives out in angling for its approval! Better be condemned with Jesus than adopted with Barabbas.”

EXPOSITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE, ALEXANDER MACLAREN, D. D., Litt. D.

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Psalm 127:1 and 1 Cor. 3:11-23

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in Articles | 1 comment

Psalm 127:1 and 1 Cor. 3:11-23

I’m really good at good ideas to do good things. They spring up from the depths within, take form and within seconds they stand like monuments to my self. I can see God smiling down like an illuminating ray of sunshine on my finished work, pointing the way to others. If only more people were like me, I think. I should write a book to help them become more like me. God needs more people like me! What a good idea!

You see how it goes. And goes. And goes.

Driven by the knowledge of good, the process sources its energy from that very satisfying and powerful thing called self-righteousness.

My ministries may rise, my good works may be helpful, I may influence people but inside I know a draining of life–a disconnectedness to Christ–that is so easy to ignore that I can go on, day after day, month after month, year after year.

Self-righteousness is that deceptive and addictive.

But I’m a Christian. The work is finished. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20

I wonder where I went wrong. I was only trying to help people, love people.

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” 1 Cor. 3:11-23

Living sacrifices don’t act on their good ideas. Filled with His Holy Spirit,they are dis-abled by the cross they have picked up to follow Christ. Vessels empty but of Life Himself,  branches channeling His life, sheep who follow the Shepherd’s voice, their life is truly HID in Christ. The yoke they share with Him is easy and its burden is light. In ceasing from their own works, true rest is found. Like Mary, they have chosen, “that good part.”

It is a narrow, restricting way but true Life is found there and that more abundantly.

“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:11

Rejoice!

Binsey

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Surrendering To the Lord, by Chang Noi

Posted by on Aug 22, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on Surrendering To the Lord, by Chang Noi

Surrendering To the Lord, by Chang Noi

Before the Lord filled me with His Holy Spirit, He spoke to my heart about many things. He was preparing the “soil” of my heart that I might receive all that He had for me.

One evening He began with a strange question. What have you given me to baptize?

It was as if He cut me open with a sharp knife and I saw what He wanted me to see. He wanted all that pertained to me. My private life, my social life, my fantasy life, my personal life, my career, my family, my friends, my dreams. All that I had received as a result of my natural birth was to be laid before Him. He had created a set of circumstances so that it was just Him and me, one on one. I had never experienced anything like this and did not fully understand the power of God that was seeking to find its expression through me.

I did not know that God could communicate with me like this but I knew enough to know that I was experiencing the presence of the Lord dealing with my spirit. He was dealing with the issues of my life that were resident in my heart that had to be fully and completely surrendered to Him. There must be death before there can be resurrection life.

During this special time in His presence, I placed the Lord first in my life and unconditionally “buried” each of the things that the Lord brought before me. The good, the bad and the ugly. I had always liked business.

Jesus said, “I want you to surrender that.

He took my life, along with all that I desired to have and do as an offering.

During this time, He was saying, “Will you let me baptize every part of you? All I want is to fill you to overflowing.

He was saying to me, “I cannot release the Spirit that is within you unless you make everything available to me.”

When I finally surrendered on His terms, it was the most incredible experience I had ever had.

To walk in The Spirit is to fully trust in The Lord to do in you each day what you cannot do yourself.

There is no one single experience that will mature a person but this was the beginning of my walk in the Spirit.

This was the beginning of the end of my natural walk as I begin to find expression in the realm of the Spirit.

In Him we live and move and have our being!

 

Chang Noi, Thailand

Chang Noi, pictured above with wife Katt and son Andrew, serve the Lord in Thailand. They have witnessed God’s Spirit being poured out on the peoples of Asia. They answer the call each day to feed His sheep and prepare a people for God’s end-time purposes. Visit Chang’s blog at: http://godsappointedtime.blogspot.com/

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How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

Everything depends on our being right ourselves in Christ. If I want good apples, I must have a good apple tree; and if I care for the health of the apple tree, the apple tree will give me good apples. And it is just so with our Christian life and work. If our life with Christ be right, all will come right. There may be the need of instruction and suggestion and help and training in the different departments of the work; all that has value. But in the long run, the greatest essential is to have the full life in Christ—in other words, to have Christ in us, working through us. I know how much there often is to disturb us, or to cause anxious questionings; but the Master has such a blessing for every one of us, and such perfect peace and rest, and such joy and strength, if we can only come into, and be kept in, the right attitude toward Him.

I will take my text from the parable of the Vine and the Branches, in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Especially these words: “Ye are the branches.”

What a simple thing it is to be a branch, the branch of a tree, or the branch of a vine! The branch grows out of the vine, or out of the tree, and there it lives and grows, and in due time, bears fruit. It has no responsibility except just to receive from the root and stem sap and nourishment. And if we only by the Holy Spirit knew our relationship to Jesus Christ, our work would be changed into the brightest and most heavenly thing upon earth. Instead of there ever being soul-weariness or exhaustion, our work would be like a new experience, linking us to Jesus as nothing else can. For, alas! is it not often true that our work comes between us and Jesus? What folly! The very work that He has to do in me, and I for Him, I take up in such a way that it separates me from Christ. Many a laborer in the vineyard has complained that he has too much work, and not time for close communion with Jesus, and that his usual work weakens his inclination for prayer, and that his too much intercourse with men darkens the spiritual life. Sad thought, that the bearing of fruit should separate the branch from the vine! That must be because we have looked upon our work as something other than the branch bearing fruit. May God deliver us from every false thought about the Christian life.                ABSOLUTE SURRENDER, by Andrew Murray, Moody Press – Chicago, 1895

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Social Justice Goodness Exposed

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Articles, Quotes | Comments Off on Social Justice Goodness Exposed

Social Justice Goodness Exposed

When it comes to helping the poor, how often does doing-good result in tangible, long-term good? Rarely, according to Laura Seay, a professor at Morehouse College. In the July/August 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine, Seay describes a phenomenon of goods-giving (known as dumping) to impoverished communities as “just treating one symptom of a much deeper problem, and treating symptoms is not a cure.” In reference to Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold, she says, “The shoe seller goes out of business. He can’t send his kids to school.”

In strange fact, Tom’s Shoe disbursements haven’t been as damaging as expected to local economies but only because the beneficiaries, though thankful, say that the cloth shoes don’t survive the mud and dirt beyond 2-3 months. Poor parents still buy when they can from the local shoe sellers a product that is of sufficient quality to keep their customers loyal.

One of my favorite books about poverty states, “We must arm ourselves with patience and wisdom and listen to the poor what they want. This is the best way to avoid the trap of ignorance, ideology and inertia on our side.”
― Abhijit V. Banerjee, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Christians often pursue activities of the heart. And when those strings to our hearts get pulled we too often bandwagon without wisdom. But going, giving and doing without the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit is presumptuous, arrogant and even dangerous.

Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your spirit.” To love the triune God, the heart’s one-third must be balanced with mind and spirit. Only then can we better discern the mind of Christ which can then “prove” what is that “perfect will of God.”

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-3

How should Christians help the poor? Housing? Education? Political influence? Dumping?

There will not be a blanket answer. Every “good” idea needs to be examined with the wisdom which can only come from above. With time, the ability and willingness to listen as “living sacrifices” we will hear as promised and when we hear, we must obey even if what we hear doesn’t satisfy our hearts.

We are Christians and though we are a people of mercy we do not stand as sentries at the crossroads of physical life and physical death. We stand the crossroads to point the way to Life Himself.

Rejoice! 

Binsey

 

 

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2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on 2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

Your future is pulling you into new directions

You feel the joy and stress of things not known

The where, the when, the who, the whats?

So many questions!

 

And all that you’ve learned in its varying importance

Registers one thing supreme above all:  God’s plan for you through Christ

Is safe in His hands and way beyond human control.

He leads, you follow, like a lamb imperfect.

 

You’ve been grafted onto His vine eternal and can trust that fruit in its season will come.

You can rest in His promise that as your roots dig into the land, He is faithful.

He promises, “Abide in Me, let me prune you, and you will see

Through all your winters,  springs, summers and autumns that

Fruit does come in its season and abundantly.

 

With special Congratulations to Sara Cote, Alexis Barnard, Colleen Smith, Carina Oswald and Tatiana Berg and for graduating with his masters, John Cote!

Love, Binsey Cote

 

 

 

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