Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Defective Tuner?

God will supply every need... Phil 4:19

Is this really true?

"Why not just give up on God.  He either doesn't love you or can't act."

Bereavement, betrayal, loss or failure can open us up to be tempted to give up on God.  All of us have experienced one or even all of these situations.  If these experiences result in my seeking God's strength and provision then I will gradually become more loving, faith-filled, and compassionate.  But, if I throw up my hands and bitterly give up on God's love and ability to provide, I will become more and more cynical, despairing, difficult to live with and isolated.  Jesus' prayer that we be one with Him and His Father, is a prayer that God is constantly working to answer.  This priority is infinitely more important than our comfort and pleasure in this world.   Two voices are speaking - one is a lie.  Which voice do we tune our ears to hear?  Is our tuner defective?

"May we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that, at the proper time, we can be exalted because He cares for us."

Monday, May 14, 2012

Disagreeable Mess or Opportunity

Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
1 Peter 1

Our natural life in this world will have many troubles, disappointments and hurts.  But, Jesus has promised that he has overcome the world.  By His Spirit and power, I can respond to painful situations with grace and have hope in the face of darkness.

It is so easy for me to respond to disagreeable circumstances in my Self-power.  Then I manifest things like impatience, irritation, and depression.  Yet, disagreeable circumstances are the only time when I can genuinely show Jesus' presence and life within me.  It is only then that His strength can work through me to do and respond in ways that are not natural to man or to me.  Misunderstanding, rejection, hurt, loss, disappointment and so on can become wonderful opportunities to respond in the spirit of Jesus.

The grace to respond in the power of Christ depends on the presence of His Spirit in my spirit and my ability to humbly acknowledge the truth of His Word.

We have to form habits to express what God's grace has done in us. It is not a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved in order to manifest the life of the Son of God in our mortal flesh, and it is the disagreeable things which make us exhibit whether or not we are manifesting His life.  -- My Utmost for His Highest

That life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

—2co 4:10

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Ultimate Life Coach

If someone believes they can not change their personality, they have believed a lie.  We can and should change.  The rise in popularity of the concept of life coaches has demonstrated the power of coaching to help people change their lives.  The ultimate life coach is Christ.  We can actually experience His personal coaching and the resulting life transformation.

Neil Cole with Church Multiplication Associates has put forth the concept of Life Transformation Groups.  This is a group of two to four people of the same gender who meet for an hour every week or two.  The group determines the time, the place and the conversation.  The conversation is encouraged to center around each individual's response to the group's agreed Scripture reading and agreed character conversation questions.

The group is kept small so that there is time for each person to be part of the conversation and part of the resulting potential for transformation.  The small size of the group also helps encourage more in-depth sharing.   When the group gets to the size of four members, it is ready to split into two groups of two.

A group does not need a trained leader since each one in the group will know how the group functions after a couple of meetings.  The basic format of the meeting is to start with some known questions that encourage discussion about how each person is responding to life challenges and to God's voice into his life through the Scripture reading.  Along with the questions and discussion, each group is encouraged to pray for the needs in the group and for specific people who are not yet believers

This type of group has two basic requirements.  Each person should be desiring a more intimate relationship with Christ and they should be committed to the meetings, questions and Scripture reading as agreed to by the group of two or three.

These groups can help accelerate the transformation of each individual because of the in-depth sharing, the daily hearing of God's voice through Scripture reading and the power of the Holy Spirit to work in this smallest of churches.

Would you like to experience incredible change to your thinking, relationships and response to life?  Would you be committed to having Christ as your ultimate life coach?

Please send me an email (gerald.boyd@gmail.com) and let's discuss the next step.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Three P's

I wonder how often I've missed opportunities to follow Jesus as Lord because I was afraid to lose something of worldly value? Once our family was invited to serve in an orphanage in Russia. I did not see how we could raise the money and I was fearful about resigning my job. So, I wonder whether I truly sought for God's will in deciding to not go.

  • "they did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover." -John 18:28
There are many churchgoers who are very concerned about how things are done in their church. Are the correct procedures, traditions or doctrines being followed and taught? The religious leaders who brought Jesus to Pilate were very concerned that they not defile themselves without realizing that they were trying to kill the very One who was at the core of their religion.
  • "We have no king but Caesar." -John 19:15
In exactly the same way, we can be focused on appearances and hardly recognize that our life is actually based on "We have no king but Caesar". Instead of being genuinely open to following Christ in our profession, entertainment and thinking, we may only be rationalizing our fear to risk things of only worldly value. When our lips say, "Christ is Lord!", where is our heart? Are we actually open to handing over our position, prestige and pocketbook to the Lover Of Our Soul?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hungry for Love Letters

There have been many books written about the power of our thoughts. Our feelings flow out of our thoughts. Thoughts lead to words and actions. If the thoughts we entertain are true, courageous and right, then our lives will tend in a positive direction. If my thoughts were to focus on lies, deception, self or fear, then the resulting emotions, words and actions would move my life and relationships in a very negative direction.

"I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." --1 John 2:14

This verse from 1 John reveals some of the power of having God's Word abide in our thoughts. Through His Word, we get God's perspective and we have light and truth flowing into our lives. If we genuinely hear, His Word will change our thinking and give us power to overcome the lies and fears that the world and the evil one constantly throw at us. Many of us try to have a good diet or take supplements to bring good nutrition in to our bodies. It is many times more important to bring the spiritual power and nutrition of God's Word into our thinking.

When I get a letter from my lover, I do not read a sentence or two each day. No man says that he HAS to spend five minutes each day reading a letter from his sweetheart. A letter from our lover is devoured. It is read and re-read. We don't have to read it. We get to read it. We hunger and thirst to read it. God, the Lover of our soul, has written us a love letter and it will give us power as we let it soak in and change our thinking.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spiritual Maturity

In 1 John 2:12-14, John lists the different parts of the audience for which his letter is intended. It is also a definition of different levels of spiritual maturity.

Spiritual Children
- Their sins are forgiven
- They know God as Father

Spiritual Young Men (or Young Women)
- All the above
- They have strength of spirit and character
- They have overcome the evil one in their lives
- They have God's Word "living" in their souls

Spiritual Fathers (or Spiritual parent)
- All the above
- Being a father or parent implies that they have reproduced spiritual children
- They have an intimate knowledge of Christ, the living Word, who was from the beginning (1 John 1)

May God work in each of our lives and give us grace to grow into higher levels of spiritual maturity. May He also give us grace to encourage growth in those under our care.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Do you have your ticket for heaven? I used to have a ticket for heaven -- or so I thought. In my mistaken understanding, there was a formula by which one earned a ticket to heaven. And, I had gone through the formula and completed all the rituals. Once I got my ticket, I only needed to be more or less good and I could just enjoy this life. As Paul indicated in these verses from Philippians, my focus and guide continued to be my Appetite -- my various desires for pleasure in this world. It seems possible that Paul was warning that, sadly, there are supposed Christians who are not actually citizens of heaven. These people, thinking like I used to, are still citizens of the world who believe they have a ticket to heaven.

The ticket trap is subtle but deadly. A follower of rules, regulations or formulas is not the same as a follower of Christ. Rules and laws are for citizens of the world who are still motivated by self-focused desires. In contrast, when one hears with faith and becomes a new creation, he is motivated and empowered to do whatever is right based on love for his heavenly Father and love for his neighbor. Laws are not needed to guide or constrain the activity of sacrificial love. We are called to shine as lights but service to our neighbor should not be a result of a program, peer pressure or a sense of duty. We should not be punching a service, attendance or salvation ticket. Our service and, in fact, our whole life will only be meaningful as it flows out of God's love that has come alive in our heart.

There is a dramatic and fundamental difference between citizens of the world and citizens of heaven. A citizen of heaven has been through a crucifixion and has been made a new creation. So, where a citizen of the world is guided and powered by self-love and keeps his mind set on things of the earth, a citizen of heaven is guided and powered by selfless-love. A citizen of heaven has goals and visions that focus on heavenly things. My own eyes began to be opened when, by God's grace, I saw a glimpse of the reality of my earthly focus. A citizen of heaven no longer finds his identity and purpose through earthy status of being rich or poor, free or slave, male or female, country boy or city boy -- he is now an adopted son of the Creator of all things. He has become an alien but also a representative in this world who is on a mission. His mission is to make Christ visible, to announce the good news of redemption, and to help his neighbors also become citizens of heaven. It is vital to see with the eyes of a loving son of God rather than those of a worldly, salvation ticket holder. "Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven..."

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven... Phil 3:17+

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Barrier Breaker

I ... was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. Gal 1:14

Paul was zealous and, sadly, we can also be zealous for traditions rather than God. Paul thought he was being true to God's calling but he was only trying to protect a form of religion that had been given to him by his ancestors. Those who are filled with zeal for Jesus will always be trampling on the toes of those who are zealous for traditions. We read of how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus and we think, "I would not have reacted that way." But, it is very, very easy to find ourselves in the place of a Pharisee. A Pharisee is not as concerned with people as with his idea of the law. Jesus touched lepers, he conversed with a Samaritan woman, he let women be his followers and sit at his feet with the men, and he even healed on the Sabbath. The Pharisees thought it would be better for the people to continue in their suffering rather than be healed by Jesus in a way that conflicted with their tradition. Lord, where is my heart? Jesus broke through all kinds of barriers of custom, tradition and culture in order to reach needy people with good news, healing, hope and God's love. In our culture, it is becoming more and more difficult to even speak Jesus' name. May God give us hunger, thirst and zeal to follow Jesus wherever and however He leads even if we feel uncomfortable breaking through some barrier of culture, custom or tradition.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Praying With Our Caps On

1 Cor 11:4 - Every man who has something on his head while praying, or prophesying, disgraces his head.

When it comes to Law, we can find both big rules and little rules. But, breaking a "little" rule is still breaking the Law. For example, it is common to see men remove their hats and caps whenever they are in prayer. 1 Cor 11:3, 7 and 8 provide a justification for this supposed rule. The justification itself is based on a spiritual principle and not on custom or culture. A related "rule" in the same section of Scripture, based on the same spiritual principle, states that women should not pray without a head covering. So, does wearing a hat while praying invalidate a man's prayer and place him in a state of sin? Is a woman in sin, if she never wears a head covering whether she is praying or not?

There are many, many possible rules that can be extracted from the New Testament. "Owe no man anything..", "A woman must remain silent in church..", "Greet one another with a kiss of love.." and whatever rule is your favorite. Yet, it is clearly stated and a basic principle in the New Testament, that the keeping of rules, the maintenance of appearance, and the mere saying of right words is of little or no value. What does matter, with infinite importance, is whether one is a new creation by the Holy Spirit.

Whether we speak or keep silent, wear our cap or remove it, and go in debt or not, is not right or wrong based on rules. These things are right or wrong based on Godly love. Godly love is the type of love that Jesus spoke of when He said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." We are clearly called to die for one another. In fact, we are called to die to self -- daily. As one small example, I personally believe that it is best for men and especially myself to not drink alcoholic beverages. But, a few years ago, my bride and I were visiting a family in China who were not believers. As a sign of hospitality, the elderly father offered me a drink of liquor. There have been many times over the years when I have turned down offers of beer, wine or whiskey. In this case, however, I sensed that rejection of his sign of hospitality would create a significant obstacle to the Good News. So, I accepted his offering, drank and expressed gratefulness. And, indeed, I was sincerely grateful for his generous spirit of hospitality.

In a way, the flesh prefers rules. By picking and choosing the rules to be obeyed, it is possible to create a framework wherein the flesh can justify itself to itself. Our salvation, however, is not dependent on our ability to obey one, ten or even hundreds of rules. Salvation is possible only through the cross of Christ and it is dependent on only one thing -- whether, by God's grace, we are a new creation in our spirit. It is by God's Spirit leading us to walk in the way of genuine love that we realize the proper behavior in a specific culture, context or situation. It is in the context of love of God and love of neighbor that the letters in the New Testament were written. And, the Way of Love is still the way to discover the behavior that will be best for spreading the Light of Christ, the Good News of Jesus and God's Kingdom into any environment or community. So, as children of God and followers of Christ, whether we pray with our caps on or off, let us choose the action which is motivated not by rules but by faith working through the love of Christ which is alive in our hearts.

Rom 13:10 -- "..love is the fulfillment of the law"

Gal 5:6 -- "..faith working through love"
Gal 6:12-16
Gal 5:14 -- "..the whole law is fulfilled in one word.." Rom 14.23 -- "..whatever is not from faith is sin."