Inside/Outside #30

As we are at the end of September and the final devotional for this month I will take the time for a review and summation of all that has gone before concerning our basic theme of ‘Inside/Outside’

At the ‘beginning’ all was pronounced as being ‘good’ and in the Garden of Eden, God with his creation, Adam and Eve, were in full communion and fellowship with their creator. This was to continue and would have but for the interruption. On the ‘inside’ of man Satan created a disturbance, doubt, denial, distrust and disobedience that was to work its way to the ‘outside’ for as a man thinks in his heart, so is He’ Proverbs 23:7 and has been there ever since.

From the ‘inside’ there is adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, envying, murder, drunkenness, raveling, unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, strife, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful, haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, false witness who pours out lies, a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

From the ‘outside’ there can and should be: ‘things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute and other things which are excellent, fruits of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

God, the creator, desires and is able to accomplish a ‘heart transplant’ so that with a ‘new heart’ and an ‘outside’ manner of life can be the ‘fruit’ of a well cultivated and Spirit controlled life. Ezekiel 36:26-28

26And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a] 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

 

If your heart keeps right,

If your heart keeps right,

There’s a song of gladness in the darkest night.

If your heart keeps right,

If your heart keeps right,

Every cloud will wear a rainbow,

If your heart keeps right.

 

 

 

 

Inside/Outside #29

2 Corinthians 5:17-18: 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:

For those who are interested, today we are into and passing through the Panama Canal from the west side to the east side and of course this is an extraordinary accomplishment and yet now they are expanding it so as to accommodate the ever increasing flow of traffic.

As we are one day away from the closing of these devotionals for the month of September, please ask Pastor Walton to be kind to this aging pastor and look for someone else to be accorded this privilege. And for all others who take special delight in doing so, you are to be thanked and congratulated. It is a chore.

Our text of the morning is familiar and does set forth a couple of facts which bear upon the month long theme, inside/outside. The inside, left alone has no other capacity than to produce the nature which it is. But if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation and being ‘in Christ’ is a Christian with Christian characteristics and capabilities. The old has gone and the new is here and all things now are of God. The works of the flesh no longer need to dominate but can be subjected to the will of the Spirit. Galatians 5:16, 17:  16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Let us view by way of contrast the old inside and the new outside. Is it hate or love, unbelief or faith, despair or hope, pride or humility, vacillation or firmness, cowardice or courage, self-contempt or self-respect, unfaithfulness or semper fidelis, insincerity or sincerity, lethargy or enthusiasm ,slothfulness or diligence, slovenliness or neatness, impatience or patience, unscrupulous or conscientious, impolite or polite, stingy or generous, self-indulgent or self-denying.

These are all possible one way or the other and the presence and power of the ever present Christ, un-grieved, un-resisted and unquenched will assure that the outside will be as it should be.

 

 

 

Inside/Outside #28

The fruit of the Spirit is obvious:  gentleness…faithfulness….self-control

On this 28th of September we are at sea voyaging toward the Panama Canal and as of this writing as far as I know all is well and so are we.

Today we wrap up the Spirit born fruit which should and can become obviously dangling from our lives. Such is for those whose lives are hungering for a taste and flavor that is sweet in order to compensate for the bitter dregs which we have been dragged through by virtue of our own lives and the lives of others.

A bad tree is unable to yield good fruit: Matthew 7:17-19 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

By definition, gentleness is having and showing a mild, tender temperament and character with sensitivity both in voice and behavior. Psalm 18:35 “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” As it was then, so should it be now. Receiving the shield of His salvation and the right hand of His support and the enhancement of His gentleness we too can pass on to others the likeness, liberty and love which He has transmitted to us.

By definition, faithfulness is remaining loyal, steadfast, trustworthy and reliable in the presence and danger posed by circumstances and situations over which you are not a part of the problem or solution. Consider these verses on the subject. Proverbs 11:13“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.” Proverbs14:55 “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies.” Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

By definition, self-control is the ability to control oneself pertaining particularly to one’s emotions and desires especially related to difficult situations. This fruit of the Spirit requires, as do they all that the Spirit be not resisted, not lied to, not quenched and not grieved. Such negatives will surely rotten the tree and spoil and sour the fruit.

 

 

Inside/Outside #27

The fruit of the Spirit is obvious: patience….kindness….goodness

On this 27th of September, and because you are interested, aren’t you; we are now ported in Puntarenas, Costa Rico. After taking in what sights we choose to see we will be back at sea heading for the entrance from the west into the Panama Canal.

It is so nice to be turning our attention to that special quality of life that is energized by the indwelling and infilling presence of the Holy Spirit. As His ministry is amplified in our lives those baser qualities of the flesh will be subdued though not eradicated. Oh, how I wish that the ‘old nature’ with which we were born even as the sparks fly upward could be and indeed was erased. But such is neither the case nor even the possibility. Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

The low hanging fruit which is not hidden behind the less slightly and unattractive foliage is that of patience, kindness and goodness. When others see it and sample it find that the taste thereof is good and delight to have more of it.

By definition, patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. The person who is without the quality of patience will shortly finding himself behaving in the ways reminiscent of the former reactions to life’s circumstances and situations.

By definition, kindness is the quality of life which enables you to be friendly, generous and considerate. This fruit of the Spirit removes ‘self’ from the equation and places HIMSELF [CHRIST] as the motivator. When we pause to think of Him, were member that He did not focus upon whom He was but out of generosity and consideration relinquished the independent exercise of His attributes to affirm and perform the will of God on our behalf. Philippians 2: 6 “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,[a] being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Matthew26:39 “39And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

By definition, goodness is the quality of being good concerning which Paul says there is none.

 

 

Inside/Outside #26

The fruit of the Spirit is obvious: love…joy….peace

On this 26th day of September, we are well on our way toward the culmination of celebratory journey. We are at sea heading toward Costa Rico.

Today we examine the beginning of those 9 fruits of the Spirit marked out for us in Galatians 5:22, 23.

Concerning love you have often been told that thinking Biblically and spiritually, love is of 3 kinds. They are ‘Eros’, ‘phileo’ and ‘agape’.

Eros is not the kind of love spoken of as being a fruit of the Spirit. It rather is the product of the ‘flesh’ at work and is sourced from sensual and sexual desires which are erotically aroused from the music, musical lyrics and gyrations along with the dress or lack thereof.

Phileo love is the kind like after which the city of ‘brotherly love’ Philadelphia is named.

Agape love is the kind of which God is even as 1 John 4:8 states: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” That is the kind of which Galatians speaks and the Spirit produces. I suppose that more books have been written on the subject and more songs have been sung on the subject than perhaps on any other in the realm of personal introspection and inspiration. We sing the songs but is there a bit not true in what we are singing back to God?

By definition, joy represents a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Concerning this you would have to review the previously described negative character traits to be reminded of what little cause we had to know and experience joy. The very basis of real and great pleasure and happiness is sourced solely in knowing by experience the giver of joy present and eternal. John 15:11 “11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

By definition, peace is enjoying a freedom from disturbance, a state of life in which there is no war providing a mental and emotional calm. Although it is not my assignment or purpose to do so, a large amount of material could be addressed developing a deeper understanding of that peace of which Jesus spoke and taught. John 14:27 “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

 

Inside/Outside #25

The fruit of the Spirit is obvious…pure…lovely….good report

Today our ship, The Millennium is docked at Puerto, Guatemala and as of this writing all is well and we just came out of a glorious celebration of our 60th sponsored by our two daughters, Cheri and Debbie and for which we were grateful to have some of you join with us for the occasion.

Paul wants the Philippian Christians to be thinking about things that will improve their lives and extending that benefit to others who are within the reach of their influence.

As we think about these virtuous quality traits, we should remember that the unregenerate person breaks into a behavior that is pure, lovely and of a good report but basically this is not natural to him. The Christian person may lapse into things that are not pure, not lovely and not of a good report but he will loathe that behavior.

By definition thinking on things that are pure means that your life is focused upon things which are not compromised or contaminated by extraneous and unnecessary elements. That kind of a life provides the healthiest relationship to the church and within the church.

By definition, thinking upon things that are lovely means that your focus is fastened upon the beautiful, attractive things of life; things that are pleasant, enjoyable and delightful. Why waste time and throw away spiritual energy by dwelling upon things that are less, much less, than beautiful, attractive, pleasant, enjoyable and delightful.

By definition, thinking upon things that are of a good report means that you have developed a maturity which enables you discern between the good and the evil. Those who deliberately choose to be immature have no interest in making such distinctions. Hebrews 5:14”14But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” 

 

 

Inside/Outside #24

The fruit of the Spirit is obvious: true…honorable…right

Today, having left Acapulco, Mexico we are at sea and perhaps that is the way you are feeling about these devotionals. If that is the case do not lay the blame with me for it is the Pastor who got meat a weak point in my life to agree to this task.

Here we have words from Paul, by the Spirit to the ‘brothers and sisters’ in Christ and if that is what you are by reason of being born into God’s family you should pay attention. The psalmist said in the19th at verse 14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord my rock and my redeemer”

When one thinks on things that are true he is thinking according to fact and reality not gamesmanship and deception. He is thinking accurately and not seduced into accepting and believing for a fact that which is contrary to that which is true.

When you are thinking thoughts which are honorable you are into the realm of when decent actions are performed for which recognition is deserved, publically or privately.  When your mind is so focused upon such things that are so positive, there is not much room left for dishonorable activity unworthy of praise and recognition.

When one’s thoughts are right and thinking upon that which is right then that which is opposite to the right can find sparse room for the infiltration of that which is wrong. Right is that which is morally good, acceptable and judgments need to be made as to your choice to what is correct for a particular situation. Is this or that the right thing to do? Is this choice a good, better or best?

The challenge to you will always be to discern and distinguish between the true and the false, the honorable and dishonorable and the right and the wrong. For the true, honorable and right choice you need strength of character that is above, around and in you for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.

Inside/Outside #23

The acts of the flesh are obvious: feet that are quick to rush to evil, false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

These are the closing words of Proverbs 6:16-19

Today in our touring we are in Acapulco, Mexico and taking a quick look at this, one of the most popular within the country. And as of this writing all seems to be well with us and I trust also with you who may have chosen to continue reading these, my last of the devotional writings.

Happily, tomorrow we can begin, for the rest of our devotional journey, to look at the fruits of the Spirit which require for one to possess the presence of the Spirit within his life. In addition to that, as a personally known fact, the Spirit must not be quenched, resisted, lied to or grieved.

A person whose life is tangled up with affairs with which he ought not to be might inadvertently allow himself to be caught up in a ‘rush’ to evil and make judgments which with afterthought he could regret. Evil in and of itself is abhorrently wrong but when the words ‘quick’ and ‘rush’ are added to it makes its cause and results exceedingly dangerous and disruptive.

To be a bearer of a false witness is of course a primary violation of one of the 10 commandments. And in this text where we read of a ‘quick rush to evil’ we read also of the ‘false witness who pours out lies. During the recent past we have heard and watched the devastation caused by the tsunami in Japan and the death and destruction caused by the tornadoes in many places including Alabama. These were quick and rushed and poured out their death and destruction upon all within their reach. The unprepared were helpless to ward off the effects and those who survived have a long way to go to fully recover and some will not outlive the recovery process. The last part of the proverbial warning of God’s hatred toward such abomination says that all of this mayhem is impacted upon the community within the reach of this ‘quick rush to evil’ and the ‘false persons who ‘pour’ out lies in order to stir up the community. Unless you have no ears to hear what the Spirit says, you should pay attention less a worse thing come upon you.

Inside/Outside #22

The acts of the flesh are obvious:  lying tongue, hands shedding the innocent, heart devising wicked schemes

 

Today in the continuation of our celebratory journey we are at sea heading toward Acapulco, Mexico and so far at the time of this writing all is well and so are we.

Today our attention is drawn to the person who allows his tongue to bear false witness and his hands to be destructive to the innocent all of which flows from a heart that devises wicked schemes. Do not forget that it is from the heart that precedes all the issues of life. Therefore it is a continual challenge to us to protect and preserve the integrity of our heart so that from the inside the outside may be a reflection of the liberty, life and likeness of Him whose image we are to bear.

According to the Bible the tongue is an unruly member and is able to curse and bless but not at the same time. For a more careful look, examine the simple to be understood words of James found in chapter 3:1-17.

Our hands are equipped for service and in this text they are serving the destruction of the innocent. The innocent spoken of here are those not responsible for or in any way directly involved in a problem yet are suffering as those they were. The ultimate illustration of this is found in Matthew 2:14,17 “16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi”

Once again our primary source of the bad behavior and ultimate wrongs which are perpetrated from among men toward men are found within the heart which left to itself has no basic capacity to do otherwise than to dream about and devise wicked schemes to make the dream come true.

One more day for us to look at the obvious works of the flesh. Then to the more positive fruitful working of God’s Spirit, who is our helper and energizer. To behave differently and appropriately to being the children of God which we are, by God’s grace.

Inside/Outside #21

The acts of the flesh are obvious: disobedient to parents…no understanding…no fidelity

In our continuing anniversary journey through the deep seas, today we are in port at Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and tonight we journey on toward Acapulco.

At the time Paul wrote the Words of God to Timothy he said that in the ‘latter days’ among other things ‘disobedience to parents’ will create a climate that is perilous and dangerous.

By definition, disobedience is a failure or refusal to obey rules and requirements that are stipulated by someone in authority. In the case of Timothy’s words the authority has to do with parents. I think that the breakdown of our society including the government of home, the community, employment, the church and the nations of the world can be sourced back to the disrespect of the authority structures within the home. It used to be that parents made a difference because their authority was listened to and respected by being obeyed. Because it has largely diminished or vanished there, it has impacted and influences the dangerous and perilous conditions everywhere.

By definition, understanding includes the ability to comprehend with a sympathetic awareness and tolerance. Within the Bible you can often find that wisdom and understanding are coupled together. One may have the wisdom in knowing what is within God’s purpose and plans: James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” So the wisdom is there and available but to have the understanding to accept, understand and act upon that wisdom is often neglected or rejected.

By definition, fidelity is faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief which is demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support. In our current series of devotionals we are examining that which is naturally on the inside which potentially can work its way to the outside. To be without obedience, without understanding and without faithfulness is both perilous and dangerous. The person deserving our obedience, understanding and fidelity is the one we profess to be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The cause is the church for which He gave his life to procure and the belief is sourced in that other necessary food which is the Word of God.