A Worn Out Cosmos?

But about his Son, he called him “God,” saying, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever and you will rule your kingdom with justice and righteousness, For you have cherished righteousness and detested lawlessness. For this reason, God, Your God has anointed you and poured out the oil of bliss on you more than on any of your friends.”

And he called him Lord, saying, “Lord, you formed the earth in the beginning and with your own hands you crafted the cosmos. They will both one day disappear, but you will remain forever! They will all fade like a worn-out garment, And they will be changed like clothes, and you will fold them up and put them away. But you are ‘I AM.’ You never change, years without end!” (Hebrews 1:8-12, TPT)

Stop and reflect for a moment. The universe; or cosmos; by definition, is regarded as an enormous orderly and harmonious system beyond our comprehension. But in reality, it is chaotic and violent. Yet, according to scripture, God created it for a temporary purpose. And someday, he’s going to roll it up like a worn-out garment and simply put it away.

Second Peter says, “The atmosphere will be set on fire and vanish with a horrific roar, and the heavenly bodies will melt away as in a tremendous blaze. The earth and every activity of man will be laid bare. Since all these things are on the verge of being dismantled, don’t you see how vital it is to live a holy life? We must be consumed with godliness while we anticipate and help speed up the coming of the day of God, when the atmosphere will be set on fire and the heavenly bodies consumed in a blaze.”

How big is your God?

From the Treasury in Rome

Reading Romans chapter eight in The Passion Translation for the first time was refreshing and enlightening. The language is directed from God’s passion toward us; motivating me to lean into him like the disciple John did at the last Passover meal. Parking on this chapter for eight days would indeed be a feast on destiny and belonging.

“And since we are his true children, we qualify to share all his treasures, for indeed, we are heirs of God himself. And since we are joined to Christ, we also inherit all that he is and all that he has.”

I’m a child who has been taken by the hand and ushered into a treasury stacked with more wealth than I can apprehend. Then I am told, “I’m going to teach you how to use this. It is my Father’s good pleasure to give you all of this.” (Eph. 1:9-12, 2:7, 3:8, 1 Cor. 2:6-13, Heb 11:24-26)

Loving Romans

I love Romans. It has the unique distinction of being both complex and simple. If one drills down through its complexity, the simplicity can be realized. Romans four is one example. The very last verse states, “Jesus was handed over to be crucified for the forgiveness of sins and raised back to life to prove that he made us right with God!” (TPT) It’s that simple.

We cannot be punished for violations of rules that were nailed to a cross (vs. 15). We cannot work for a higher level of righteousness when we’ve been given the highest level of right standing with God there is. We cannot incrementally lose what has been completely and freely given.

Then where’s the complexity? Faith. When earning any aspect of the promises of God becomes a part of our thinking, faith loses its power. Abraham believed (key word) the promise and expected (key word) God to fulfill it. He took God at his word. He never stopped believing God’s promise. We cannot fulfill promises that God has given us.

Like Abraham, we can stay the course; walk where he leads. Keep it simple. Keep believing and never give up. He said he would bring his promises to pass.

It’s a daily thing . . .

The world we live in makes constant challenges on our character. We must be intentional about what we fill up on. Psalm 101 is a short but powerful declaration of inner values. Hear the heart of verses two through four.

I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart.
I will set no worthless (belial in the Hebrew) thing before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not fasten its grip on me.
A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will know no evil.

When I’m in my own house and nobody’s watching, do I have the same integrity about guarding my heart?

Do I allow Belial (2 Cor. 6:15) to fill my mind? Belial means, that which does not conform to a right standard, therefore of no value; wicked, vile, the making of trouble and law breaking.

What I dwell on, I will attract. I refuse to let perverse things to get a grip on me.

To put that in New Testament design, I choose to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. I choose life daily. I choose to be an ambassador for Jesus from the inside out.

Great Fullness

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. [Psalm 37:8, NASB]

There are several dams along the three rivers that run where we live. One of them is a favorite spot to take guests and children because of the fish ladders provided by the Army Corps of Engineers. The windows inside provide understanding about the types of fish that are running up the river to spawn. And it’s different each time. The last time we went, the predominant specie was carp. The previous time was lots of shad. On other occasions we have seen salmon and steelhead.

Carp is not an especially elegant fish, like salmon and steelhead, just big with large scales. Nor is it a preferred food fish; although it is edible. But as I considered the carp, I was given a prophetic picture of its usage as a term primarily used in the UK.

Carping means to find fault in a disagreeable way for petty reasons; complain fretfully. Evading the truth or importance of an issue by raising trivial distinctions and objections. Any part of that or all of it is carping. It’s akin to fretting.

In the Hebrew text, the word for wrath describes venom; snake poison. Fretting is a poison. It gnaws and chafes with the intent to erode and wear down from the inside out. Another flavor of it is negativity.

The final product of fretful negativity is a ruined state (evildoing) of the flesh. This verse has a strong message to this acquired habit; cease, forsake and stop it. Turn around and head the other way.

The way of gratefulness changes a fretful or negative perspective. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we live according to the flesh, we will die. If we live according to the Spirit we have life and peace. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

What we tolerate or cultivate either empowers the devil or empowers faith. It’s a daily decision to live gratefully by faith. If fretting is a poison, gratefulness is the antidote.