strength

What Union With God Really Looks Like

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I want to talk to you today about Isaiah 40:30-31 where it says:

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

“Even the vigorous young men stumble and fall.” By the way, “vigorous young men” is the word for athlete in the Hebrew, so the average person trekking around in this world is definitely going to fall! Now notice the contrast with the next part, there’s another reality we need to understand. Those who rest in Him—“those who wait for the Lord” is what it says. I would translate it differently. I would translate it “Those who abide with Him, those who are in union with Him, those who depend upon Him.” When we’re walking through this world and we find ourselves in trouble, we don’t need to be sitting around waiting for God and God doesn’t sit around. He’s ready to move on our behalf. We are in union with Him. That’s what He’s talking about here.

Then the verse says, “shall gain new strength.” That’s not a good translation either. Go check it out for yourself! In the Hebrew, it literally means “exchange.” So as we abide with God, we will exchange our strength for His strength, our mercy for His mercy, our patience for His patience. That’s why we “mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary” because we have exchanged our strength for His strength. That’s the new covenant.

What a glorious new covenant it is! I pray you would know this great exchange. That’s why Hudson Taylor first called it “The Exchanged Life,” and it’s a glorious life. We have become partakers of the divine nature. It doesn’t mean we become God, but it does mean we’re in union with God. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says that “the one who joins himself with the Lord is one spirit with Him.” Which means that we can experience all that He is, all that we need, in the moment of faith. That is a glorious covenant.

Bless you, in Jesus’ name.

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The Only Resolution You Need to Make This Year

You weren’t called to make resolutions! In this freeing short video, Frank explains that there’s only one resolve you need to make this year, and it can radically change your life. Beloved, the self-control you are seeking can be yours without making resolutions. May 2019 be the year you discover freedom like never before!

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Everything you Need to Know to Run the Race

In the midst of the weary, long race of faith, we can become exhausted. In this short video, Frank reminds us to keep our eyes on Jesus because He has promised that His strength will never fail. You can finish the race!

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Everything you Need to Know to Run the Race

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We don't run this race in our own strength. The verses in Isaiah chapter 40 are ones we’ve heard so many times before. “Young men grow weary, even the vigorous young men grow tired and stumble, but those who will wait on the Lord,” and that word “wait” in Hebrew is “abide,” so it’s saying those who “braid” with Him. And it goes on to tell us that they shall what? Renew their strength? No, the Hebrew word “renew” means “exchange;” they will exchange their strength.

In the midst of that weary, long race of faith, if you keep your eyes on Him, and abide with Him, even though your strength becomes exhausted, He has promised that His never will. And because we run this race in His strength, you can mount up with wings like eagles and run and not grow weary. You CAN finish the race.

In verse 12, it says, “Lay hold of that eternal life to which you were called.” In other words, you already have eternal life, now lay hold of it! Lay hold of Him and the abundant life that He's brought to you.” I would put it this way, as you live in a natural world, make sure you lay hold of the supernatural life that is within you, waiting to be released through you.

This is a very important issue, my friends because though we strive, we must remember that our striving is not against each other. We strive WITH each other. We're not competing against one another, we're all in the same race to lay hold of the same prize. We compete with each other against all that comes against us, and if something comes against another person, we’re ready to step into their lives and assist them in that which has come against them. Likewise, when something comes against me, you stand ready to step in with me and help me to run that race.

Beloved, we must never forget that we're not competing against each other, we're competing against this world, and the false teachers, the enemy, and sin in the flesh. That's why I love the quote, “Keep your faith with a trowel in one hand for building others, and a sword in the other for battling.”


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God Commends the Weak

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Did you know that in the book of Revelation, the church in Philadelphia was commended because it had “little strength"?

In our modern world that is a very strange basis for being commended. Modern society values strength. Our media driven culture beckons us to be men of steel and women of iron. The city in which I live heralds, for example, that we are “Baton Rouge Strong” and “Baton Rouge Proud.” God, however, says that it is the weak, those that have recognized their minimal strength who are to be commended. Why is that?

Let’s ponder Moses for example; he was a man of great strength. Raised in the court of Pharaoh to be a leader in the nation, he was trained to be a warrior. When he thought the time had come for him to deliver his people, he mustered all the strength he could and killed an Egyptian, but failed to rally the people around him and ran like a scared rabbit into the desert.

There, he spent the next 40 years tending sheep and growing weak. How do we know that? Because when God appeared to Him, to call Him to lead Israel into freedom, he bemoaned that he was not the kind of man God was looking for. Early in his life, Moses thought he was that man because he was strong, but now that he was weak he could not dream of being a leader. He thought himself a nothing and informed God that he could not speak very well. Ironically, the book of Acts tells us that Moses was the most eloquent man in all the earth!

So how are we to explain that? Some say that after spending 40 years with a bunch of sheep, any of us would speak b-a-a-a-a-d too! I don’t buy that. I believe that after his failure, Moses no longer trusted in his natural resources, he recognized that he was not up to the demand, which forced him to depend on God in a way he would never have without his failure. His failure opened his eyes to his true state of weakness so that he could then see the greatness of God that would be exercised by God on his behalf; transforming him into a man who received the strength of God!

Though this is a hard lesson for most of us to learn, it is one that we desperately need to understand. The Holy Spirit told Paul that when he was weak, then he would truly be strong because he would no longer be trusting in himself, but in God. This is why God would offer that “not so strange” commendation for those who have little strength. I want to hear that commendation, and I hope you do too, for it is the true path to the strength we desperately need to secure to live victoriously in this fallen world.

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Exchanging Our Strength

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I have found over the years, that so many people have been comforted by the words of Isaiah 40. There we are told that, "young men stumble and fall" and that even "the vigorous young men grow weary and stumble." BUT – "those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, mounting up with wings like eagles, to run and not grow weary!" That is glorious, but it is even more glorious than it sounds. Let’s dig deep into some of the individual words and watch this glory be magnified.

"Young men stumble and fall," that is true for all of us. I take this to be a reference to the average guy. We live in a tough world and for most of us, our strength is very often, not up to the demands of life. There are, however, living among us, the elite ones; the strong and the mighty who seemingly have the fortitude of personal resources that enables them to conquer this world we live in. Uh-oh, this text tells us that they too grow weary and stumble.

This world can stand ominously against us with the demands that it places on our lives, and when even the strong and mighty are not up to the task, we could easily find ourselves overwhelmed and frustrated. Fortunately, we find one of the great words of the Bible intervening in our desperate situation… "BUT!"

"But those who wait upon the Lord." Now, if we take an honest look at that phrase, it is really not all that encouraging. We are stumbling and falling, so we need to “WAIT”… WHAT?! For how long must we wait? When will the Lord show up? Will He show up? It is an encouraging phrase, but not encouraging enough! Wonderfully, that word does not mean “wait” at all. It really means “to braid.” Think of a girl braiding her hair, intertwining, placing individual hairs into “one” – DO YOU SEE THE GLORY? It is not calling us to "wait" for God to show up, but in the moment to recognize our “oneness” with Him. It is really the Old Testament word for abiding. So as we are growing weary, and as we are stumbling, as we are in great need, in that very moment we can recognize our “oneness” with God, and “renew” our strength.

That is so awesome, but it gets even better!

The Hebrew word for “renew,” can actually be translated “exchange”. So, as we recognize our “oneness” with God, we can go way beyond having our strength "renewed," we can "exchange" our strength, for the strength of God. That is the reason we will be able to mount up with wings like eagles and run and not go weary because through faith we can experience the very life of God being lived out and expressed through our lives.

My prayer is that if these verses comforted you before, they will now comfort you more than ever as you realize how much God wants to offer Himself to you, and for you, as you walk in faith with Him in this dark and desperate world.

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A Very Real Word of Encouragement

So yes, as the ancient writers encouraged, "Be strong!"  That, however, is not really much of an encouragement.

So yes, as the ancient writers encouraged, "Be strong!"  That, however, is not really much of an encouragement.

In most ancient letters that we hold in our possession, the standard "good-bye" was erroso meaning "be strong." 

That was obviously intended by the writers of those letters to be an encouragement to their recipients. It is also though, a commentary on the world we live in. We need to be encouraged to be strong because this is a dark and scary world. We need strength to navigate our way through its savage twists and turns that it all too often brings our way. So yes, as the ancient writers encouraged, "Be strong!"

That, however, is not really much of an encouragement. At least, not to an honest man or woman who has encountered just how treacherous this world can be.

Why? Because the trials of life teach us that we are not really all that strong.

It is like we are on battery power and the demands of life all too easily burn out our batteries. I believe most of us use the time in between difficulties as a means of providing us with a way to somewhat re-charge our batteries for the next round of difficulty we are going to have to face.

The ancient New Testament letters, however, did away with the word erroso as a standard means of saying goodbye. They chose to use instead the word charis meaning grace. Now that is a glorious and very real word of encouragement. Grace is the offering to us, of the very Person of God. It is the new economy established by Jesus in the New Covenant, that God is no longer distant and unreachable, but actually, lives inside all of us who have placed our faith in Him.

Grace means that at the moment of faith, God will be all that He is, to all that we need. Because of grace, we no longer have to navigate through this dark and desperate world by ourselves and with our own resources. Wherever we go, God goes with us. Whatever we endure, He is right there offering His strength for us to stand victorious in the midst of the dark days that a fallen world can bring to us.

I bid you, His grace!

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This is No Time for Wimpy Christians

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Christianity is anything but an ethereal float through this world. It is a battle, that we must actively contend in. I am not so sure that we shouldn't call it "conflictianity".

In I Corinthians 16, there is a very concise but powerful call put forth by the Apostle Paul. "Be alert"... The phrase occurs some 22x in the New Testament. It means to be aware (of the danger), to be on guard (taking every thought captive), to watch (for he lurks around every corner.)

We are the light of the world which instantly puts us into a struggle with him who is the prince of the darkness. He travels the world like a ravening and roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is the tempter, laying snares that can trap us, sowing lies in the hopes of leading us to make choices that will have devastating consequences.

I love the glory of our new identity in Christ, that we no longer sinners, but saints. We must realize though, that ours is a multi-faceted identity. Father's Word also says that we are soldiers and that because we are in an epic battle. Embrace who you are and whose you are, and fight this good fight of faith with the courage that the Lion of Judah places inside us with His presence. This is no time for wimpy Christians.

I raised my kids on a mantra, I share it now with you...

TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!

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No More Fish Out Of Water

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

...we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

The shortest sermon I ever taught was out of Romans 11:36. One verse.

"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things!"

"OF HIM" --- God is the source

"THROUGH HIM" --- God is the means, the ability

"TO HIM" --- God is the purpose and the goal

God is everything that pertains to what true life is all about. Kind of like a fish in the water. All that fish knows is water. When you catch that fish and pull him out of the water onto dry land, the fish gasps, flops around, enters the dying process, and then dies. (Then he gets eaten up)

This is what happened to us. We were like that fish in water. All we knew was God. Then, we got caught, cast out of God onto some very dry land where we flopped around, gasped, entered the dying process and were really getting eaten up. 

However,

If you had compassion and intervened, you threw that fish back into the water and the fish "lived" once again.

This is what happened to us. God had compassion on us, and through the work of His Son placed us back into God and put God back in us and now we really "LIVE"...

No more gasping. No more flopping around. We have found God to be our source, our means, and our home. Enough said!

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Truly Let Go

Just “let go and let God!”   Oh   my friend, to do that is  no  easy thing at all.

Just “let go and let God!” Oh my friend, to do that is no easy thing at all.

One of the main accusations we in the economy of grace receive from the religious world is that we are a camp of “easy believism” and passivity. Some of that ridicule has been earned as people within our camp have heralded the words “let go and let God” as a trite formula for which to tackle all of life. Though this is in actuality a true statement, that method of employing those words can very easily sound like passivity.

Just “let go and let God!” Oh my friend, to do that is no “easy” thing at all.

Remember that we were all birthed into the lie that we shall be as God. We all have a built-in belief system that we are strong, have the knowledge, are in control, and we can tackle anything that comes our way. This must be repented of; the truth is we were never designed to be strong, know all things, or be in control, but we were created to be dependent on the One Who is all those things.

Further, we are as Psalm 139 says, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are so fantastically created that we can accomplish so much in any given day without even giving a thought about God. Our very assets with which we were created can enable us to function so well in sight, that we do not see the need to live by faith.

I would put it this way, if our assets hinder us from trusting God,
then we must see them as liabilities.

To “let go” of those assets which we can so easily see and trust, and choose instead to trust a God we cannot see, requires great effort and will. No, my friend, there is nothing “easy” or “passive” about living by faith. It is in fact hard work! I think of the words of Hebrews, “Let us labor to enter into rest!”

Let us STRIVE to truly let go and let us STRIVE to truly let God!

After the Cross, Now What?

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

...and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

I was listening to a famous Bible teacher this morning. He is a good guy and greatly respected. He shared how he wanted to be known as a herald of the Gospel - the Good News that God has brought to us! And what is the good news? He shared this: The Good News is that Jesus was crucified for our sins, died and was buried, and rose again the third day! Isn't that good news? Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven! Yes, my dear friend. You are correct! Our sins have been forgiven and we are going to heaven. Please know, that my heart would NEVER be to throw stones at that glorious good news, but I do want people to know that it is even "GOODER" than that!

If that was all there is to the Gospel, then that is not really going to
encourage us in the dark days we encounter in a fallen world.

I am going to heaven, but I am experiencing hell right now! If all the Gospel is, is that I get to go to heaven someday, then what happens in the meantime? Well, in the meantime it is going to be a MEAN TIME! I will be left to slug it out in this fallen world with my own resources, which are simply not sufficient to overcome the death that is on my plate on a daily basis.

Thankfully, there is more to the Gospel. The "finished work" of the Gospel was not finished at the cross! There was more for Jesus to do! First, He ascended to the throne to sit down. It was then, and only then that He could send the other Comforter - by the way the Greek word for "another" is another of the same kind! It is the coming of the Holy Spirit that allows the finished work of Jesus to continually be worked out in our own lives as we trust Him by faith to be our everything.

As we live on this planet, we exchange our strength for His strength, our knowledge for His wisdom, our independence for His guidance, our affections for His love.... and so we experience heaven - intimacy with God while we live on planet earth.

Now, that is really good news! We must take care to understand and help others understand, that the Gospel is not just a set of historical facts, but the experience of a relationship with God because those historical facts bring me to a Person who offers to be all that He is to all that I need as I trust Him.

Now that is GOOD NEWS!

Dealing With Pain

It hurts to hurt! We were not designed to hurt! When we hurt, we want to stop hurting! There is NOTHING wrong with that at all. The great Apostle Paul hurt often. In II Cor 1, he hurt so bad he says that he was despairing of life! Did you hear that? He wanted to die! It is sad that people miss this passage and the honesty that we should all have in the body of Christ to share our struggles.

It is sad that the body of Christ all too often does not allow us to struggle. I wonder how many in the modern church would have hushed Paul and told him he was not offering a “positive confession” or that he was being a bad example of faith to others. I love his honesty.

He declared another time in II Cor 12 that he had a thorn in the flesh, and it hurt so bad he begged God to take it away. Again, an honest testimony. Obviously, Paul did not believe in “triumphalism” – the belief that we are able to live above our circumstances. That is something God never promised. Even the Lord Jesus Himself, was in such torment in the garden of Eden, that he was sweating blood and begging the Father that there might be another way available to Him besides the way of the cross. 

The key is that neither of their desperate situations ended in despair. In Jesus life, the Father strengthened Him as He resolved to live according to the Father’s will. Paul in II Cor 1 remembered the resurrection life and power of Jesus, that life rose up within him to empower him through the experience of death that had come upon him. And in II Cor 12, God’s power showed up in Paul’s weakness enabling him to endure the thorn in his life. Did you see the common ground in each of these issues? They did not experience “triumphalism” – living “above” their circumstances.

Rather, they experienced God in and through the midst of their experiences. They encountered death and life at the same time! They experienced sorrow and joy at the same time! They experienced weakness and strength at the same time! This is the reality that only we as believers can experience. We are the only ones on the planet who can weep sorrowful and joy filled tears at the same time and here is what I want you to take away. 

This opportunity to suffer in faith, is only provided for us in this life. Years from now, in eternity future, we may have the desire to love our heavenly Father and come to Him and tell Him, “Oh Father. I love you so much I am willing to suffer for you!” That is a noble declaration on our parts, but do you realize the folly of that desire? He will say to us in return, “Oh my child. Thank you for your heart. But that opportunity was already provided for you during your life on earth. You can never, ever have the opportunity to suffer for me again for all eternity!”

The Bible says there is a crown reserved for those who suffer in faith. I must admit, I do not understand what that really means, but I do realize that I only have one shot at “earning” that crown, and then that opportunity will be gone forever. That reality has changed my perspective on the wounds that come in to my life in this world. I still don’t want to hurt! It hurts to hurt! But, those hurts provide me with an opportunity to trust God in a way that is beyond the scope of normal faith – and the opportunity to do so is a fleeting one, only available “in the moment!”

Hmmmmmmmm….

Deep Roots

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No matter how hard we try to isolate and insulate ourselves from people and from the fallen world we live in, it is impossible to avoid the “storms of life” that frequently come our way. Jesus said, “The rain falls on the just and on the unjust.” So does all the trauma and loss and grief and sorrow and unmet expectations and disappointments and frustrations and…

So how are we to make it through what the Psalmist calls “the valley of the shadow of death.” Keep in mind, this is NOT talking about making it through the experience of our physical death, but from making it through the experience of death in a fallen world as we live. Well, Hurricane Katrina provides a very powerful statement of how. The people of Grace Life Fellowship did a lot of relief work in the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and also the Mississippi Gulf Coast which was hit extremely hard by that massive hurricane.

It was an eye opening experience to venture to the Gulf, and view the land stripped bare on the shore. Homes were gone! Cars were gone! Even the concrete foundations for many of those homes were gone! It was like someone swept a mighty hand across the shoreline, such as one would use their hand to sweep everything off a table. 

Curiously, one thing remained… the Live Oak trees, with their large and deep root structure, had withstood the storm. Therein lies our answer. Remember what Paul said? We are to be deeply rooted in Christ… that is what will enable us to withstand the storms that seek to strip our lives bare and tear us down. Jesus can give us the power of His own life, to enable us to stand in the midst of those mighty storms of life in a fallen world. I can't help but think of the old hymn writer who cried out, "Hallelujah, What a Savior!"

The Greater Power

There must be a POWER placed in our very core (spirit) that is greater than the power in our flesh, and greater than the power that comes in waves against us from the world and the enemy.

There must be a POWER placed in our very core (spirit) that is greater than the power in our flesh, and greater than the power that comes in waves against us from the world and the enemy.

When it comes to helping people not fall into sin... A COMMAND (LAW) IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH to protect us from the onslaught and allure that comes against us in a fallen world.

The forces that are coming against us, and the cry that comes from within us (the flesh), are too powerful. We get "shocked" when every once in a while the evening news carries the story of a pastor who has run off with the church secretary! If we really understood the issues we should be shocked that there aren't twenty every day!!!

To protect and preserve us from sin and temptation, we need something much greater than a simple command to not do it. There is only ONE SURE PREVENTIVE HELP AFFORDED TO US.

There must be a POWER placed in our very core (spirit) that is greater than the power in our flesh, and greater than the power that comes in waves against us from the world and the enemy.

We need a POWER inside us... WE NEED A PERSON INSIDE US ...
CHRIST IN US... OUR HOPE OF GLORY!

1 Cor 10
"There is no temptation that has overtaken you such as is common to man, BUT GOD is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it!"

That "way of escape" is Jesus...
Who offers to be all that He is
To all that we need
At the moment of faith (dependence)

He puts LIFE on the inside
so we won't settle for the "life" that comes from the outside...

Starting My Day

Since we cannot live the Christian life, and Jesus is the only one Who can do so...
Since we were designed to live in a garden paradise and THIS IS NOT IT...
Since we are living in a world that we were never meant for...
Since we now experience what we were never designed to experience...

Let me share with you how I start my day and attempt to live my days:

"Father, I am living in a world that I was not designed to live in and today I am going to experience many things that I was never designed to experience...

Father, I am not up to the demands of this day, but you are!
I do not have the strength nor the wisdom for this day, but you do!
I can't, but you can. Father, I place my trust in You!
I believe you, please help by unbelief.
Bring on the day."

And then, with eyes fixed on Him, I seek to live according to the Friedmann Family motto:

"TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!"

We live in a world that allows no room for wimpy Christians! Jesus is the Lamb of God... He is gentle, and kind, and patient, and tender... Wonderful! But He is also the Lion of Judah... A warrior! Strong, Courageous, Powerful! He is all that we need, brought to us in the moment of faith!

I will say it again: TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!"

Get Off the Treadmill of Having to Be Like God!

I once had a young minister in my office that I was seeking to lead into the LIFE that Jesus wants us all to experience... I asked him to turn to a particular passage, and he could not find it. As he searched frantically, he blamed the Bible I had handed him, saying he was not used to that Bible. Hmmmm.... What was the issue here? He was embarrassed that he as a pastor could not find the passage quick enough.

Naturally, I sought to lead him into an understanding that God was trying to reveal to Him in that moment how "blitzed" he was by the fall of man into rebellion against God. His thought process was that he should be able to find it quicker --- HE SHOULD KNOW WHERE THAT PASSAGE WAS!!!

Remember what the lie was that we were all birthed under? "You shall be as God!" Oh, what a horrid thing... I have to be strong! I have to be in control! I have to know all things! Oh my goodness, do you realize the burden that is on us because of that lie? We have to be like God, when we lack the resources to be God!

NO! That is a lie! We were never created to be strong, we were created to be dependent on the One Who is strong! We were not designed to be in control, we were designed to be dependent on the One Who is in control. And we were never supposed to know everything, we were supposed to be dependent on the One Who knows all things. We were designed to be children, who have a really great Father!

Take yourself off the treadmill of having to be like God, that is way too much pressure for anyone to live under. Decide to be what you were created to be... a weak human being, who doesn't know very much at all, but oh what a God you have... He offers to be all that He is, to all that you need at the moment of faith... 

In other words, relax! Do not take yourself too seriously. God has built His church just fine without you for 2,000 years. I have a feeling He will continue to build it just fine long after we are gone.

Cake and Icing

There are two main Greek words used in the Bible for life. One is the word “baios” from which we get biography. It refers to life as man lives it. The other word is “zoe” which refers to life as God lives it! The dynamic of what the Bible teaches is that we have the potential to experience both of those at the same time, which is something the unbeliever cannot do.

An unbeliever has “baios” life bestowed upon him by God, and he lives his life in this world. When we place our faith in Jesus, and He takes up residence within us, we now have the opportunity to experience and express the “zoe life” – life as God lives it, at the same time we experience “baios” life, as we ourselves as man live it. Amazing!

I want to illustrate it this way. “Zoe” life is like having cake. Cake is a wonderful thing to have. It is sweet and wonderful. Cake can often come with icing, and cake and icing are really what I want to have most in this life. Icing is when “baios” life, is going very well. Icing is when the kids are happy and obedient, and my spouse is happy and content, and there is money in the bank, and I am feeling really good. That is cake and icing, and I really love icing with my cake.

The problem, is that “baios” life, life in this fallen world, is all too often not a very good thing. Very often my kids are in trouble, and I am at odds with my spouse, and there are bills piling up, and there is no icing for me. BUT HERE IS THE KEY! I still have my cake, and will always have my cake. No one and no circumstance can ever take away my cake. I may prefer to have icing, and it may hurt to not have the icing, but I HAVE MY CAKE! I have my “Zoe” life to enjoy even in the darkest days that I experience in a fallen world.

Let me put it another way. There may be tears of sorrow and grief cascading down my cheeks (no icing, fallen world baios life), but at the very same time because God lives in me, I experience peace, joy, and rest (cake; Zoe life). Praise God for this wonderful mystery, now revealed, Christ in us, our hope of glory! (Col. 1)

Only Good and Mercy

Psalm 23 is a favorite of so many people. It is most often read at funerals, but the psalm is really for the living... for those who are journeying through a dark and sometimes lonely world. The glory of the psalm is that we do not walk through this "valley of the shadow of death" alone, for HE, the living and all powerful God of the universe is with us.

Because He is with us, v. 5-6 tell us that there is a banquet spread for us before those foes that sought to vanquish us. Ours is the final victory. In that "spread" that is laid out before us, we are told that "surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives..."

The word I want to home in on is "surely"... it is the Hebrew word ak, and can be translated surely, truly, or nevertheless. The translation I prefer is "only".... In other words this is the Rom 8:28 of the Old Testament. There are things that really look and feel bad in this journey through the valley of the shadow of death, but in that day, when we sit at the feast with our Lord Jesus and celebrate His and our victory, we will look back at all those bad and fearful things that we experienced and see ONLY the GOOD that our Father was working into our lives... and they will be bad and fearful to us no more....

But for God... this would not be true.