April 30, 2012

Why Tell People The Truth?

How many times do we hear people say things such as: it's none of your business, keep your nose in your own business, I will just offend them if I don't agree with them, don't say anything if you can't say something nice...... This list goes on and on doesn't it.

As a society it appears that to stick our heads in the sand or allow people to run off the end of a cliff without warning them is the "kind" thing to do.  The truth is, it is the most comfortable thing to do.  None of us like confrontation, especially when we know the mindset of those we are compelled to speak the truth to.  We are constantly judged and judging the intents of others, instead of listening to what people have to say and thinking that they might have a selfless motive. 

God gave us the perfect reason to step out and speak up in Ezekiel 3: 18-21:

"Suppose I tell you that wicked people will surely die, but you don't warn them or speak out so that they can change their wicked ways in order to save their lives.  Then these wicked people will die because of their sin, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths.  But suppose you warn the wicked people, and they don't turn from their wicked ways.  Then they will die because of their sin, but you will save yourself.  If righteous people turn from living the right way and do wrong, I will make them stumble, and they will die.  If you don't warn them, they will die because of their sin, and the right things they did will not be remembered.  I will hold you responsible for their deaths.  But if you warn righteous people not to sin, and they don't sin, they will certainly live because they listened to the warning.  You will save yourself."

Keep in mind that this was spoken to Ezekiel - God appointed him to be a Watchman over Israel. He told Ezekiel to tell them: 

Change the way you think and act.  Turn away from all the rebellious things that you have done so that you will not fall into sin.  Stop all the rebellious things that you are doing.  Get yourselves new hearts and new spirits.  Why do you want to die, nation of Israel?  I don't want anyone to die, declares the Almighty Lord.  CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK AND ACT!
If we are called to carry on the mission of Christ, isn't that the same ministry?  Where we are in Marks storyline of Jesus' journey in spreading the Gospel is prior to His resurrection.  The indwelling of the spirit by believers has not happened yet.

As I read on about Jarius' daughters death and how Christ went with him to heal her, is when I recalled Ezekiel journey.  When Jesus arrived at their home, there was a large group of people carrying on about his child's death.  Jesus asked them, "why are you carrying on so, she isn't dead, but asleep?"  I assume the reason they laughed at Him was lack of belief. 

Jesus made all of them go outside, only her parents, His 3 disciples and himself entered where the girl was.  Jesus took her hand and said, "Little girl, I'm telling you to get up!"  (Talitha Koum!) And she got up and started walking at once.  Entering now was my memory of "The Valley of Dry Bones".

Ezekiel 37: 1-4, 11-14

The power of the Lord came over me.  The Lord brought me out by his Spirit and put me down in the middle of a valley.  The valley was filled with bones.  He led me all around them.  I saw that there were very many bones at the bottom of the valley, and they were very dry.  Then he asked me, " Son of man, can these bones live?"  I answered, "Only you know, Almighty Lord."  Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, Tell them Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord.  This is what the Almighty Lord says to these bones:  I will cause breath to enter you, and you will live.  I will put ligaments on you,k place muscles on you, and cover you with skin.  I will put breath in you, and you will live - Then you will know that I am the Lord. 
The Lord also said to me, "Son of man, all the people of Israel are like these bones.  The people say, Our bones are dry, and our hope has vanished.  We are completely destroyed.  So prophesy.  Tell them, "This is what the Almighty Lord says:  My people, I will open your graves and take you out of them.  I will bring you to Israel.  Then , my people, you will know that I am the Lord, because I will open your graves and bring you out of your graves.  I will put my Spirit in you, and you will live. I will place you in your own land.  Then you will know that I the Lord, have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord."

Of course this triggered thoughts about the forming of mankind ( which we covered in the opening study of God's Story Being Told ), God called the dry land earth, God said the heavens and the earth will pass away but His word will not pass away and many other verses. 

What about you?  What comes to mind when you read all this?  Remember, you are part of His story being told.  Why don't you write a bit more of it today by journaling, to Him, some of your thoughts.  See what He tells you, then share it ....in faith of His faithfulness.

All for His glory and name sake,

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 24, 2012

Our Terms, Our Right

We live in a time of self focus.  Our minds have been inundated with the hoopla of live life on your own terms, what about your rights, God helps those who help themselves etc.   Christ tells us not to conform to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  Mark opened up with Christ's ministry tag line -

The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel

Do you believe that God has a right to ask you to change what you think?  Is it your right to act the way you want to? 

Our pop culture says thoughts and  feelings are not good or bad, own your actions, people can not make you feel anything, if you're hurt get tough don't be so weak.

We are not going to delve into silly arguments over words; especially our opinions.  What we are going to do is think about this:  We do not have to believe what anyone says; but we do have to decide if we are going to argue with what God says.

For instance:
What if someone says we hurt their feelings?  We generally want to argue with them, justify our actions and tell them how wrong they are.  Who's going to feel better just because we agree who's feelings are good and who's are bad?  Obviously the person owned their emotions, but what help was that in resolving relational conflict.  Doesn't seem to bring much resolve, harmony or peace; only division and more pain.

But consider if someone states that they're hurt by something said or done each person considers their terms or rights, if you will, based on God's terms.  Each person will have to realize the real person they are accountable to is God - meaning if they want to argue "their terms" they will have to do it on His terms.  Personally, I don't want to take my case before God and duke it out!

Today, we are hearing Mark tell us about people who were pressing in on Christ.  This reminded me of  Paul stating: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair..

Picking up in Mark 5:21 we are told that Jesus had crossed over again, by boat, to the other side.  There was a GREAT multitude it says; Christ didn't make it beyond the seashore.  A synagogue official, Jairus, made his way and earnestly bowed before him.  He was desperate, yet hopeful, that Jesus would follow him and simply lay his powerful hands on his dying daughter.  What faith that took; this man was a synagogue official!  His actions made a radical statement.  I believe this man had heard the good new, transformed the way he thought which propelled his ability to speak in order to receive what he hoped for. 

Shortly after Paul said, they were pressed on every side, but not in despair; he stated :

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

Sadly, just as Jesus was coming with Jarius, some people came along telling the leader not to bother Jesus.  His daughter had already passed away, they said.  Remarkably, his faith did not falter as Jesus encouraged him not to trade his faith for fear.  We know God promises that the one who fears cannot be perfected in love.  Why? Because fear casts out faith.  Therefore, if we cling to Love in faith, all fear will be cast out.  Which means, the one who has faith is perfected in Love.

In closing I want you to think about your rights, as we ponder this:

Healing, in the form of Godly restoration, is only received on God's terms; which is righteousness.  The woman with the issue of blood, we are told, had paid good money to many doctors.  Her condition not only didn't improve it got worse.  But by faith she aggressively came after what she believed Jesus could do reach out and received what was promised.  She did not receive it because she was righteous.  By faith, she had the right because she received it on HIS TERMS. 

Let take it to the plum line:

We all have rights.  Mankind did not originate them; God gave them.  Likewise, mankind did not originate the self righteous deformation of free will; Lucifer did.  He chose to consume the rights of others and hoard all rights for his gain / good pleasure.  Now he taunts and teases mankind, since the days in the Garden, with the knowledge of good and evil, touting:  Do life on your terms! No one else is going to take care of you! Believe whatever feels good!

Some of us believe this pomp and circumstance.  We even join in his merry marching band.  We thumb our nose at goodness and we brag "Just look what I've accomplished, taken, given etc.."  But God has pity on our condition, He boldly stepped in and gave His life away. 

Others may choose to mock Him, belittle His mercy and grace.  But His compassion won't be affected because it isn't based on "man's terms".  God's terms are grounded in Love and His hearts desire.  He determined to give rights away; to open the arms of His kingdom for anyone who believes and comes after it to receive.

God determined to honor the rights of his beloved mankind.  Even though not altering His terms means that He will be separated from some, which grieves His heart.  Otherwise, His rights would consume their rights, making Him self serving - which is not in line with His character.

God sent Christ to speak the truth, out of the Love that He has for every single one of us.  Whether you think about Him, hate Him, don't care about Him .....He loves you and you can't do anything to change that.  What you can do...is listen to His words, change the way you think, alter your character so that you may see His image and believe He is real.  I say this because, I care about what He cares about.

God cares that you understand that the terms of time have been set, now all is being fulfilled.  He asks you to consider this truth found in Hebrews 12: 25, 26

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.  For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from Heaven.  And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised saying "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.
Where will you be found standing when all things shake again?

I pray it is in Christ Jesus alone!
Enjoy this by Brook Frasier  - she gets it and I thank her for this song :)

All Rights Reserved by Brook Frasier 
©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 22, 2012

What is YOUR Character Acting Out?

Today we are entering Mark 5.  Please be sure and read the full chapter for yourselves and then consider the things we have discussed thus far.  Christ had a focus and he was very passionate, determined and single minded in his efforts.  We are told, in Proverbs as well as many other scriptures, that a double minded person is unstable in all their ways.  Look at what Philippians 2 states:

So, then, as Christians, do you have any encouragement?  Do you have any comfort from love?  Do you have any spiritual relationships?  Do you have sympathy and compassion?  Then fill me with joy by having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind.  Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited.  Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.  Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.  Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Acting Out: 
When  children's parents are going through touch relational times, sometimes we state that the kids are "acting out".  They become confused; their world gets turned upside down.  Generally speaking, we have more patients with them.  We have compassion and are tender hearts, extending much mercy. 

Sometimes, we state people are "acting out of character".  We usually say something like this when someone has a consistent pattern of how they act, respond etc. If  there is a point which this person's character or familiar way of acting is altered for a period of time we wonder what has gotten into this person.  We can be referring to something positive or negative.

Christ's actions, words and persona were congruent with the word of God.  He was above reproach on all levels.  He never once aligned himself with selfish ambition.  Philippians goes on to state:

Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality.  Instead,  he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance.
I do not know about you, but I am a human form.  This very plainly states that I will have a human appearance and I am to empty myself of the desires which would "take advantages" in order to "give advantages" to others (and the clincher) to also have an attitude that they are better than me. 

Doesn't that incite your flesh to stand up and object?  Well....do what I did and tell it to sit itself down, be silent and listen to what Mark is illustrating in attempts to perceive the truth. (This a submissive spirit)
As Jesus stepped out of the boat in the territory of Gerasemes, just the other side of the Sea of Galilee, a man came up to meet him.  This man, Mark tells us, lived among the tombs and was controlled by evil spirits.  The following details intrigued me: 

  • The man saw Jesus and ran to him, he bowed down in front of him.
  • The evil spirit asked Jesus, "Why are you bothering me now?" "Jesus, Son of the Most High God"
  • Jesus demanded the evil spirit come out of the man prior to asking the spirit to identify itself.
  • The evil spirit avoided full disclosure by using a generic name; "Legion (six thousand) because there are many.
  • Legion asked him to swear he would not torture him.
  • The "demons" begged Jesus not to send them out of this territory, but instead to send them into the swine; to allow them to enter the swine.
Looking back over all the encounters thus far, I noted:
  • The man ran to Jesus and bowed down
  • The spirits asked Jesus "why are you bothering me, now"
The first spirit Mark talks about, earlier in his story, yelled to Jesus confirming Christs authority.The spirit asked Jesus what  he wanted with them.  But they did not bow down to him.  The people who were controlled by evil spirits would fall down and state his authority, but it doesn't state that they approached him, ran to him or bowed down. 

 I found it curious that instead of being overwhelmed with gratitude for ridding their territory of the screaming, self-mutilating , chain breaking, streaking, wild man running around their deceased loved ones, they were so frightened of Jesus that they BEGGED him to leave. Why were they so scared this man being sane or in his right mind, eating with utensils, clothed and, from this illustration it appears, in quiet an equitable mood. 

When this man heard the others carrying on so, did you notice, he requested to go away with Jesus. Do you think it was due to adoration and gratitude or perhaps these "sane towns people" were freaking him out a bit.  Maybe it was a bit of both!? None the less, Christ asked that he stay.  But don't miss the most important part:  This is the first person Mark has shared that Jesus wanted the person to "Go home,  tell EVERYONE how much the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been to you." 

Because this mind heard the Good News, allowed it to alter his way of thinking,  believed it to the point it altered his character - he was transformed.  He accepted the call of the cause presented to him and went to the neighboring 10 cities preaching the Good News........and people were AMAZED!

Now that's a great story line for one of God's characters to have the privilege of playing out.  We all have one; a part that was created with only YOU in mind.  No one else can play your character.  I look forward to seeing you at the "After Party"!  Till then break-a-leg or 'hatzlakha u-brakha' (blessing and success).

With Love,

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 17, 2012

What Are YOU Trying To Prove; Tried-and-True

When someone is tempted, he shouldn't say that God is tempting him. God can't be tempted by evil, and God doesn't tempt anyone. Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him.  Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death. My dear brothers and sisters, don't be fooled.  Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn't change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. God decided to give us life through the word of truth to make us his most important creatures.  James 1:13-18
Picking up with yesterdays topic: What are YOU trying to prove.  We have to have clarity about if we are indeed "tried-and -true".  Today we are evaluating, discerning what is true. Know up front that my plum line is what God's word tells me truth is, feel free to openly disagree with anything I state.  Believe me when I say, "if not for Him, even the little that I know would not help myself or anyone else".   Do you know why I can confidently, with all humility NOT take offense when someone tellls me they don't agree with me, or that I am WRONG?  It is for this one reason, alone: 

"I do not have anything to prove, Christ alone is the proof of all things."

As anyone who knows me will tell you, one of my over used phrases is "Can we all agree that relationship is more important than proving we're right?"

So, Please don't be surprised if I learn beyond my current  understanding - I pray I do.  Don't be alarmed if my weaknesses show; I will be testing my knowledge by faith not by sight.  Always remember, when I do not appear to be humiliated by my mistakes and failures, it is because my confidence is not based on my "self".   It is not about proving anything any longer.......it is about witnessing.  There is nothing in the world to worry about for me; all pressure is removed......I'm FREE!

We all have been tempted, tested, tried for the burden of proof.  But none as was our Christ.  It is true, if we were tried we would be found guilty on many counts.  Which brings us to this junction in our studies:

What is Satan and his legions trying to prove? 

If we only want to quote the scripture and stop there, Isaiah 14 would fit the bill: You thought, “I’ll go up to heaven and set up my throne above God’s stars. I’ll sit on the mountain far away in the north where the gods assemble. I’ll go above the top of the clouds. I’ll be like the Most High.”

Let's dig a bit deeper than the obvious though. We have spoken several times now in reference to Mark sharing how Christ was immediately impelled by the Spirit, to go into the Wilderness.  He goes on to state that the reason was for Christ to be "tempted".   To clear up any misunderstandings we might have, I double checked my research on the following: tempted, tested, God, Christ, Man and Satan. 

Romans 8: 1-9, 26-30, 38,39 So those who are believers in Christ Jesus can no longer be condemned.  The standards of the Spirit who gives life through Christ Jesus, have set you free from the standards of sin and death.  It is impossible to do what God's standards demand because of the weakness our human nature has.  But God sent his Son to have a human nature as sinners have and  to pay for sin.  That way God condemned sin in our corrupt nature.  Therefore, we, who do not live by our corrupt nature but by our spiritual nature, are able to meet God's standards.  Those who live by the corrupt nature have the corrupt nature's attitude.  But, those who live by the spiritual nature have the spiritual nature's attitude.  The corrupt nature's attitude leads to death.  But the spiritual nature's attitude leads to life and peace.  This is so because the corrupt nature has a hostile attitude toward God.  It refuses to place itself under the authority of God's standards because it can't!  Those who are under the control of the corrupt nature can't please God.  But if God's Spirit lives in you, you are under the control of your spiritual nature, not your corrupt nature.

At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don't know how to pray for what we need.  But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words.  The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind.  The Spirit intercedes for God's people the way God wants him to.  We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God - those whom he has called according to his plan.  This is true because he already knew his people and had already appointed them to have the same form as the image of his Son.  Therefore, his Son is the firstborn among many children.  He also called those whom he had already appointed.  He approved of those whom he had called, and he gave glory to those whom he had approved of. 

  I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.  We can't be separated by death or life,  by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.

Let's put all these pieces together and get the "Big View".  We are told that Satan immediately to take the truth which is planted in our hearts.  We also know that he is attempting to prove to us that God is a liar, because that is the ONLY way he can deceive us. Therefore, Satan is all about "tempting" us.  God however, would NEVER tempt us!  He has nothing further to prove, it's all been proven.  It is only being fulfilled at this point.  God's will is for us to run under His blanket of Love as we live in the midst of this nightmare Satan and the fallen angels are whirling at our minds.  Christ was sufficient; his sacrifice was good; it was acceptable in All Ways for All Things.

As we sojourn we must face what our spirit is reflecting; the image or spirit we are characterizing.  If we stop fearing that we will be cast away as if we are on trial, we will realize as we are liberated from condemnation, guilt and shame what is obvious to those around us.  Remember when your eye's are roving over humanity looking for someone to devour with judgement, that God demands we judge ourselves in order to see clearly our OWN reflection.

As we stated, God does not tempt us; but He does test us.  He must test our refinement.  He is refining our character, because we are His hearts desire.  He wants to be able to walk closely with us all the moments of our days.  He is jealous for us.  When we choose to walk closely with the very spirit opposing Him it grieves Him deeply. 

There is nothing about God which needs refinement; so we are not to allow Satan to put God on trial.  That is what it means not to test the Lord our God.  He is not a common man whom a selected panel of peers and a false judge should decide His fate.

What God is impelling us to do, is to emerge from these temptations and trials holier, humbler, stronger than when we entered in.

The only problem is that without His indwelling spirit we will be proven reprobate as we break down under the burden of evil proof - it's true.

I pray that the Spirit has His will with you today, in all ways; prospering you even as your soul prospers while merging itself into the fullness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

To Him be all the glory, forever and ever ~Amen,

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™
Isaiah 66:5 Listen to the word of the LORD, all who tremble at his word. Your relatives, who hate you and exclude you for my name's sake, say, "Let the LORD show his glory; then we will see your joy." But they will be put to shame.

April 16, 2012

What Are YOU Trying To Prove? (Part 1)

As I was compiling all my notes to move forward in our studies, I realized I had missed a few things.  As you all know, I do not like to leave any stone unturned.  So bear with me please....

Mark opened his story to us with Isaiah.  I went back to several chapters of the old testament and really dug into Isaiah 26 and 40.  We know that God's word is the messenger which precedes all things.  God's word sets the span and scope of origin and infinity.  The spirit of truth or the spirit of lies are the only words available to our hearts, minds and actions.  God promises that His spirit will not divide.  Righteousness and evil, He tells us, have nothing to do with each other.  We have life by every word which precedes from the mouth of God, that is truth.  Any thing apart from that leads to death, that is truth.  One path is headed in one direction and the other is the direct opposite, so they cannot make it to the same destination; right?

As I was reading, it was crystal clear to me how God was building up for a cataclysmic MOMENT.  Then boom, all things which have been would be set in motion and nothing would stop His force or momentum.  If you believe God's word, you know this culmination of all times is Christ, his earthly life, death and Resurrection.  All roads lead to His ONE intersecting point. 

I read again, how after Christ was baptised that the Spirit impelled him into the wilderness.  The word impelled was an interesting choice.  It means to drive or urge forward; press on; incite or constrain to action. It is meant to be a driving force or cause to move onward; propel or impart motion to an object.  This is what all words, all story lines were doing.  They were pointing us to our goal which is Christ. 

Now I know this is not new News, so let's take a ride a bit farther down this road.  If all stories ARE telling the same tale, whether we believe it or not, when our storyline ends God's story will continue on.  Long after our flesh which withers like grass, and our beauty which is like a fading flower vanishes from mortal sight our souls will live on;  ALSO, all our words have been recorded to our account.  So, these three things remain: our soul, the spirit upholding us and the story we told. 

This is what Christ rose to tell us.  This is what the illustration of all words is impelling us to see, this is what all the urgency is about:  Christ said the time is at hand, the kingdom has come meaning we are living in the time of fulfillment and the spiritual realm is in full out battle for YOUR territory. But do not fear, Christ overcame the world so that His Kingdom could be at hand, we could repent, be rescued and boldly announce the truth which ushers in light, repair and restoration to all that is good, lovely and pure.

Think about what Mark is describing to us.  We saw the demons first calling Christ out as the Holy One of God.  We saw Jesus rebuking and silencing them, as well as environmental chaos such as storms, lack of food, ill health, masses of spectators, contentions of people and lack of much needed rest.  For each situation and need, driven by the holy spirit Christ had all things.  If this had not been, then God's word would have been profaned, rendering Him a liar.  But even this was not God's driving force. There was a larger illustration being portrayed for us:
Christ being shattered......

I started thinking about all this.  What if Christ would have stayed in tact?  He would have been the sole power source and when He died God would have had to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak.  Wouldn't that have been insane; doing the same thing over and over again for all eternity and expecting a different outcome.  Well God is perfectly sane.....PERFECTLY wise and all knowing.

Then I remembered Moses:  The spirit of God was upon him so that he could deliver and lead God's people into God's will.  Jethro, Mose's father-in-law asked him, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you set alone and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?  Then Moses explained to him that he mediated disputes 24/7 to make known the statues of God and His laws. 

Jethro asked Moses to ask the Lord if it wouldn't be wise for Moses to continue to be the representative before God on disputes but to teach everyone these laws and statutes so that out of them he could select able individuals who could handle the minor issues. 

Jethro's concern was that Moses would wear out himself and the people because this burden was too heavy for him alone.  This is exactly what Christ did, the burden was great, because the need was great.  Fortunately the pour of the spirit was released from Christ and fractured so that we each may receive a portion.

As we spoke about Friday, the largest miracle is, even though it is part, the spirit joins itself back together in Christ, who is our head.  The spirit enters back, with us all united into the depths of God.  So we are NEVER unplugged. We are continually empowered for His good pleasure and purposes unto all mankind.

So don't unplug, don't divide your soul from the life of the spirit.  Satan's spirit is also impelling you to open up ad take off to be empowered by what he is fueling.

More on that tomorrow......if I go any longer today you might not read tomorrow :)

Today, strap in and go with God speed wherever the spirit impels you!

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 9, 2012

Something Old, Nothing New

Jesus went on to say, pay attention to what you are listening to .  Knowledge will be measured out to you by the measure of attention you give.  This is the way knowledge increases.  Those who understand these mysteries will be given more knowledge.  However, some people don't understand these mysteries and even what they understand will be taken from them. Mark 4: 24, 25
Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work – Thieves must stop stealing and instead work hard with their hands so that they’ll have something to share with those in need. Ephesians 4:28

As is usually the case, connectivity while away proved once again to be problematic.  I hope that you were able to use the down time for digging deeper into the book of Mark or even Ecclesiastes.  As promised, we are rolling in the wisdom gleaned from the old testament writing and mixing it  into the story line Mark has prepared for us.

It fascinates me as I think about the vast time lines of these writings.  Ecclesiastes was written, most believe, around 945 B.C. and Mark was recanting Jesus' journey around 30 A.D.  Yet thousands of years later there can be no argument that wisdom is unwavering AND applicable no matter how "people" alter things or thoughts.

We are not going to get hung up on who the author is. What is important is the experience and focus on unchanging truths.  Whether it was Solomon or another King, we are blessed by his documentation.  This mere mortal unfolded the complexity of his thoughts, emotions and experiences as he interacted with the world, self and God in attempts to discern the knowledge of good and evil verses Zoe life.

The writer, at times, seems to be on the verge of spiraling beyond his ability to return to God.  Most of us can wrap our minds around a scene like this.  His opening quotes are very believable:

"Absolutely pointless!"  "Absolutely pointless!" "Everything is pointless."
Not much room for questioning his frame of mind, is there?  This teacher of wisdom then states a rhetorical question and follows it up with a few fun facts which I have paraphrased:

What do people gain from all their hard work under the sun?
The earth is the only thing which stands constant.  All other things revolve around it, pass through it, are born to die upon it, over and over and over again.

He went on to say our thinking and sayings are overused and unwise; it is all the same old thing.  What ever has been done will only be done again,  because we cannot comprehend or retain the knowledge of others from the beginning.  Also, we do not record it well for those who come after us.

This king, in a very dogmatic tone, states his opinion that God has burdened mere mortals by limiting their knowledge.  He makes it his lofty goal to use wisdom to study and glean experiential knowledge to prove his accuracy of mankind's futile state.  It is his view that all our striving is like trying to catch the wind.  Since we cannot straighten what's bent or count what is not there he perceives our existence as pointless.

With confidence he claims his position as 'wiser than anyone who has ruled Jerusalem before him'.  He has used his mind to understand wisdom and knowledge; even taken it to extremes in order to experience madness and stupidity.  In his opinion, based on all these factors he stands firm that it IS like trying to catch the wind.  He learned that with a lot of wisdom, comes a lot of headaches and the greater your knowledge is the greater your pain is. 

If this is Solomon, we know he was told not to lean on his own understanding.  This lofty goal he set for himself led him into desiring creature comforts for the pain his head and emotions were encountering.  He turned to what many mortals do: pleasuring his flesh by pursuing and feed it each and every lusty desire it dared to imagine.  But in this he states he found no lasting relief, it too was pointless.  Even laughter he felt accomplished nothing!

Sounds as if his bitterness and rage were pulling him into a downward, dark hole, don't you think?  Guess what this teacher did in attempt to make his dis - ease go away?  He drank wine and explored ways to do foolish things.  After all in this hopeless state what did he have to loose, right?  Can you imagine if you had of been in his presence and heard him make this next statement?  "Even through all this my wisdom has continued to control my mind, therefore I have been able to determine whether all this was good for mortals to do during their brief circle around the earth under the heavens."  We do not need to experience this to determine if it is good for man to experience these things, God has already TOLD us - there is a way that seems right to man, but leads to destruction.

The writer turns it up a notch now.  He writes his great list of accomplishments for all to view and recording it for those who will come after him:

  • He built a house for himself
  • He planted vineyards for himself
  • He made parks and gardens for himself with every type of fruit tree within them
  • He made pools to water the forest of growing trees
  • He purchased male and female slaves
    • in addition slaves were born in his household
  • He owned more herds and flocks than anyone before him
  • He gathered silver and gold for himself
  • He gathered treasures of kings and provinces
  • He provided himself with male and female singers and the pleasures men have with one concubine after another
  • He grew richer than anyone had ever been in Jerusalem
  • And he NEVER lost his wisdom!
If something appealed to this man he did it.  He did not restrain any desire conceivable; stating he was  justified because he worked hard and loved his work; it was part of his payment. 

Do you notice how all of his thoughts, even though he was providing nicely for others, started and ended with himself and for his pleasure? No matter how much he was giving, the heart of the matter was that he was consuming everything like the thief.  While he might have been knowledgeable, he was not exemplifying wisdom and while he was able to write out a great list of mighty powerful things, those things were doing more destruction than they were good for himself as well as those around him.

If we read on in Ecclesiastes, however, we see there came a point when he realized how deep and unquenchable this vortex was and his limitation in ever satisfying it's appetite.  He writes that from all this he had gained nothing under the sun.  So what did he do now?  It states, "He Turned", "He paid attention to experience" wisdom, madness and foolishness.  Do you remember Mark telling us the purpose of the Gospel?
The time has come, the kingdom is near: Change the way you think and act and believe the Good News!

This man was at least attempting to gather the information to surmise his thoughts. 
He asks:  What can the man who replaces the king do? 
He answers:  Only what has already been done. 
His conclusion:  Wisdom has an advantage over foolishness as light has an advantage over darkness.  A wise person uses the eyes in his head, but a fool walks in the dark.

He also came to realize that the same destiny awaits all creatures upon the earth; deciding that wisdom also was pointless then.  Remember when he stated: with a lot of wisdom came a lot of headaches and the greater your knowledge is the greater your pain?  He knew that when his last breath was drawn some fool or wise person would walk in to own all that he had accomplished.  He also realized that in time it would be as though he had never existed so his bitterness and anger turned to hate.  It was then that he lost his hope and walked straight through the doorway of despair.

Work once loved, he now claims is unbearable.  He speaks of struggling and life being consumed with pain.  He says at night there is no rest for the mind.  I believe we have a great picture of the vortex calling out to him amidst this chaos and at first it appears as if he might just enter in.  The king says so then there is nothing better to do than to eat drink and find satisfaction in work......

I know this is getting longer than usual, but let's not stop there.  He is about to have an encounter with a radical new thought which would overtake the voice of chaos and shut bind up the way into the consuming vortex.  Wisdom finally spoke out of him saying, if God isn't the center of all you are doing there will never be any enjoyment - for all this comes from the hand of God.  He realized that God alone gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to all who pleases Him. 

The true revelation in my opinion, however, was his acknowledging that the person who continues to sin would be given a job by God as well.  Their work would comprise gathering and collecting wealth for God to turn over to those pleasing or aligning themselves with God.  I assume the writer was still wrestling with his emotions, ambitions and pride because he stated, even this is pointless and like trying to catch the wind. 

He did not turn back thought, instead he casts those thoughts aside and writes a list of all the times under the heavens.  Now his wisdom is attempting to peak out from his shroud.  Once again, he broaches the topic of gain from hard labor, but this time he has a changed mind.  His view of the burden weighing down on mortals is not overbearing, he claims it is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time.  He now touts that God has put a sense of eternity in peoples minds.  Yet mortals still can't grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end of time, and he seems to be just fine with that.

What really excites me is his new view point and perspective based on this revelation, as he states:

I realize that there is nothing better for them to do than to be cheerful and enjoy what is good in their lives and experience the good that comes from every kind of hard work.  I also realize that whatever God does will last forever.  Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken away from it.  God does this so that people will revere Him.  Whatever has happened in the past, is present now.  Whatever is going to happen in the future has already happened in the past.
God will call the past to account!

Today, whether you feel like you are chasing after the wind or the wind is chasing after you and it is all pointless; think about Mark telling us the story of how the disciples panicked on the boat.  They asked Christ if he did not care that they were going to die.  And they were simply crossing to the other side of the shore.  Christ got up, ordered the wind to stop and said to the sea, " Be still, absolutely still!" 

I pray that your faith in God's love and Christ's victory will be empowered by the Holy Spirit and bring you out of fear and into His love so that any mighty wind opposing or eluding your confidence will be subdued by His righteousness.

In Christ, with love,

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 6, 2012

What's Your Story?

If you have been involved in our conversations for any time at all, you know we lean on the story lines to learn.  Not too long ago we discussed that each of us are telling a story constantly.  This is what conversation and relationship is....storytelling.  We tell the moments of our days over and over and over again.  What tales are you spinning for the world to glean from?  Whether you expect it or not, someone IS leaning on your storyline.  Will it hold them up, or drop them flat on their face?  We know that only when our words align with God's will they truly be" an ever ready help in someones time of need". Let's not be telling an erroneous story line.  Know the story being told - we are accountable for each and every word which comes from our mouth, the thoughts of our mind and the intent of our heart.  That is the truth no matter what we tell ourselves or others.   It is so.....and so it is!

In Chapter 4 of Mark we see that Jesus is again teaching by the Sea of Galilee:

A very large crow gathered around him, so he got into a boat and sat in it.  The boat was in the water while the entire crowd lined the shore.  He used stories as illustrations to teach them many things.

While he was teaching them, he said, "LISTEN!" 
He added, "Let the person who has ears listen!"

When he was alone with his followers and the twelve apostles they asked him about the stories.  Jesus replied to them.  " The mystery about the kingdom of God has been given directly to you. To those on the outside, it is given in stories:

They hear clearly but don't understand. 
They never return to me and are never forgiven."

Jesus asked them, "Don't you understand this story?"  How, then, will you understand ANY of the stories I use as illustrations?

Can you imagine His concern?  There is a difference between seeing clearly but not perceiving and not seeing clearly therefore you cannot perceive.

There is a difference between hearing clearly but not caring enough to think on the complexity beyond the obvious and listening with intent to wait until you understand the fullness of the one speaking to you.

There is a difference between never returning to God so that you are forgiven and not knowing God of that you need His forgiveness.

Do you understand?

God is the creator of ALL things, and He has planted His truth within all creation.  Some people who hear the word do not hear it clearly and Satan comes to be sure there is distortion.  The person does not understand the truth and therefore plants the distortion which leads them astray....

There is another person who received the truth but they do not understand.  Their heart is hardened.  They apply the word based on their understanding not on God's truth.  Then what they believe in, when put to the test fails them and they blame God.

Then another person hears the word, but there is static.  They believe they hear correctly, but when they have such success in the world and they listen tuned in to the channel of static and annoyance, they hear something contrary to their own mind set.  They decide that they didn't hear correctly because what they are doing is working, so they force the truth down. 

The last person hears clearly, understand what they hear because they patiently tune to the correct station.  They have no preconceived storyline, they are tuning their ears to every clear word spoken before surmising one detail.  They freely give into Gods will and the truth of God prospers at HIS will!

Why would we think that God would put truth in His creation and not raise it up to BE light?  He must have pure, incorruptible, iridescence though.  Otherwise it will not lead them or others the "correct way".  But, at the right time, which is when each person returns to Him and is forgiven, they will begin to grow: 30, 60 and then 100 fold as HE prospers them.  He grows them from glory to glory to glory because knowing and forgiveness increases understanding of His mysteries.

When you understand He will give you more.  But for those who don't return to Him after they know, He takes all that He gave away from them.  He transfers what is produced into the ground of His faithful fields. The glorious thing is that the person who was faithful with the 30, working Gods way, gleans understanding which prospers another 60 percent.  And when continuing to be faithful with this 60 percent, they rest in peace and awaken to see God's display of the 100 fold; which is a combination of their efforts plus the abundance of all else that God desires to grace them with for His good works. 

There are several key scriptures commonly employed on the subject of planting, harvest, faithfulness and stewardship to God.  In Malachi, He asks a nation to test Him on giving away their material gain.  The catch was it had to be giving a gift to God, not purchasing a gift FROM God.  He desired them to see that there was "in deed" a difference.  Matthew 19:29 states:

And everyone who gave up homes, brothers or sister, father or mother, children or fields because of My name will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. 
Matthew 6:33 states:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be given to you as well.
We are not going to get into the scriptures on the faithless today, that is for later in Mark.

This is a great day for the Kingdom of God because the faithful insignificant servant (in the worlds eyes), the least of  the blessed (in their opinion), will grow up taller than all the rest.  They will provide shelter and shade which reaches a great span, height providing for others in a mighty way.  All because of God's love, purpose, provision, goodness, faithfulness, power and sovereignty.  Remember that this Good Friday and crawl up under His blanket of love.

Christ has covered a multitude of sins, once and for all - Let's give Him praise and were His glory with pride!

With Love, know He calls you His delight and believe!

©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc™

April 2, 2012

Picture This.....

The last of Marks story we spoke of, Jesus was going up the mountain.  Joining Him were the 12 He was going to be appointing as the apostles.  Following this, they headed home;  Jesus was tired, hungry, mobbed, heckled and rejected we read.  Mark lead us through the way Jesus handled all this.  He was not walking behind the lead of His human emotions; Just as when the Spirit lead Him into the desert, now the Spirit of God was leading, walking in and through Jesus, which was keeping His vision, motives and ability above all these earthly feelings.  In addition, the Spirit gave Christ a storyline to feed their minds, not to tickles their ears.

Christ gave into the prompting of His Spirit and painted a word picture for them.  Let’s review the facts before we get started: 
·         The crowds were there to be healed from all things inclusive of demons being forced out.
·         The scribes had been following Christ all the way from Jerusalem, they were accusing Him of receiving His strength to perform miracles from Bezel bulb.
·         His own family spoke against saying “He must be out of His mind.”

Christ makes His first stroke with an intense character, someone who had an evil spirit.  He describes the magnitude of chaos which would occur if an individual were to overtake the very life force which enables them and were to force it or rip it out of themselves, cast it outside of their physical body. 
Think about it, we are a physical vessel which gets only 1 spirit.  If we force our only spirit out, we will have no ability to function.  Be very aware (beware) at all times we are operating and empowering either the Holy Spirit or the unholy spirit.  Do not ever doubt that, it’s a very simple reality.
Christ then took his illustration from the individual to the relational view point.  He started detailing the surroundings of the person previously sketched out.  He told them that all the people dwelling together must be of a harmonizing spirit.  Spirits manifest differently from physical forms, they indwell the physical forms they extend beyond that form to interact.  It is then capable of uniting itself with itself from the other piece reaching out from the other vessels within its realm.  This sheds light on the reality of One Spirit being made manifest and the constant spiritual battle between this unified body and the opposing spiritual forces attempting to overthrow it. Realistically, when all individuals are not of the same spirit there will be a constant battle of the wills till death does one part. Relate this to our coliseum topics.
Jesus then details the picture of how the battle would play out.  He spins the tale of how the stronger spirit would bind and overtake the weaker spirit.  At this point the unbound spirit steals all the belongings of the home / vessel it enters.  Do you realize the thief has no interest in ownership of the property?  He simply desires the space to be empty and lifeless.  His job there is done unless somehow this weak individual gets unbound; at which point, he will have to come back stronger in order to get the job done once and for all.
Reflect on the verses from last discussion, we have added a couple to them:
Ephesians 4: 2-6, 27, 28 Be humble and gentle in every way.  Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other.  Through the piece that ties you together, do your best to maintain the unity that the Spirit gives.  There is one body and one Spirit.  In the same way you were called to SHARE “one hope”.  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over everything, through everything and IN everything.  Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work – Thieves must stop stealing and instead work hard with their hands so that they’ll have something to share with those in need.

So if we are not willing to “share” the ONE we are the “thief” coming to kill, steal and destroy!  Therefore, we must STOP IT! Or we are against the Holy Spirit!  Christ guaranteed this truth:
People will be forgiven for any sin or curse.  But whoever curses the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven.  He is guilty of an everlasting sin.  He said this because the scribes were accusing Him of having an evil spirit.
His final illustrations were in regard to family – which was radical.  He spun a tale to enlighten them of a way of thinking beyond the storyline this world had lead them to believe.   He said Listen,  just because people are your flesh and blood if they choose an unholy spirit as their life force they are not your mother, brothers and sisters!  Only those the Holy Spirit unites are your mother, brother or sister.
May I ask you,  are you willing to listen believe and follow this way of thinking, empowered by the Holy Spirit?  There will be a cost to your flesh. Are you willing to let it die so that the Holy Spirit can be released from the binds of your strong man? 
Tomorrow we are going to read what was written about all this in Ecclesiastes because it is exactly what Christ is living and speaking to them some hundreds of years later 0 and we are doing the same 100’s of years later

Guess it‘s true, there is nothing new under the sun!
©Candace Huffmaster 2012, All Copyrights Reserved
Kaleidoscope Butterfly, Inc.™