Concept Review | Training The Human Spirit


mydesign“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep” Romans 12:15

Talk about fulfillment! This one lone verse is replete with it.

As the twelfth chapter in Romans begins, we are informed of the high standards God holds forth. It’s a challenge for those who represent God. And, since they have accepted Christ as their personal Savior, they are supposed to be an illustration of Him, also.

Maybe you’re like me. I have heard many sermons on verses 1-14 and 16+. But, I’ve never heard a message on verse 15. This particular verse reminds me of two stories about Jesus.

One story that is found in Luke 7:11-15 is about the widow of Nain. It tells us that Jesus entered into her emotions. His heart/spirit was so profoundly affected that He found himself compelled to bring her son back to life and return him to her.

The other story, in John 11:33-36, tells us that Jesus’ heart/spirit was deeply touched by a woman named Mary. Her grief over the death of her brother Lazarus was so open that it brought Jesus to tears. It was not something He hid. Those watching attributed His ability to identify so emotionally with Mary to His love for Lazarus.

Reflecting on those illustrations of Christ’s heart/spirit, and wanting to be like Jesus, let’s see what we can gain from the original language. This study also enables me to make more specific application in my own life.  Here is a breakdown.

Rejoice: Greek, chairo (khah-ee-ro) be cheerful, happy, well off, be glad, joyful

With: Greek, sun (soon) denoting union, together, about as close as possible, to resemble

Them: Greek, autos (ow-tos) other persons, the other of self, those, together

Weep: Greek, klaio (klah-yo) to sob, wail aloud, bewail, weep

To paraphrase this verse: “I can measure my ability to illustrate God’s standards by testing myself to see if I am completely functional, emotionally. This can be validated by whether or not I illustrate the ability to experience, among a host of emotions, cheerfulness and joyfulness. Then, when other people are joyful and cheerful, I will be able to unite as close as possible emotionally with them. I will resemble them emotionally. Naturally then, in times of grief, I’d be just as capable of relating to others as though it were myself when they are sobbing or weeping out loud. God knows that this characteristic alone will bring a high degree of comfort to others.”

Since living here, where Satan brings so much grief, isn’t it exhilarating and gratifying to think we can counteract Satan by bringing comfort to the heart/spirit of another person?

Can you name the four emotions in the last sentence?

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Principles and Projects | SPIRITUAL SEEDS THAT REAP CHRIST-LIKENESS


sowing-the-seeds-that-reap-christlikenessExcerpted from the book SPIRITUAL SEEDS THAT REAP CHRIST-LIKENESS volume one

Although I was married in 1959 it wasn’t until 1971 that my circumstances caused me to recognize that I was in serious trouble.  So much so, that it forced me to recognize that I needed to do some deep soul-searching and challenge myself.

I was staring at a disaster; caused by conducting my marriage from my perspective. All the time, God was patiently waiting for circumstances to drive me to a place where I would turn to Him for direction.

The time had come for my Christianity to become more than mere words and theological habits. I needed to search out; re-evaluate my life and then pursue God’s goals for my life and marriage; which I discovered, meant becoming more and more like Christ to my wife and children. I needed to accept the responsibility (as the spiritual leader in my home) to lead as Christ would. Those are also the ultimate purposes of this book.

To accomplish those purposes, here are Five Challenging Concepts (which are like spiritual seeds for the gardener who wants spiritual growth) all of which I believe God revealed to me and to which I hold myself accountable. These concepts (or spiritual seeds) yielded for me and I believe will yield for every Christian man… the same brand of Christianity the Apostles died for.

These concepts presented me with a challenge, and I’m passing that challenge on. Are we willing to become the Christ-like spiritual leaders in our homes that God requires we be?  Not so incidentally, that requires an intense commitment to God. A commitment wherein we will need to determine; are we willing to pay the sacrificial price required to gain the necessary understanding that will enable us to become more and more Christ-like!

God is going to bring every man to a place where he will have to decide; am I willing to accept the challenge of literally illustrating Christ. Exemplifying the ability to respond to all of the events in my life as Christ would?

Let me take this opportunity to mention, it definitely is the intent of this series of books, to present every Christian man with a challenge: The most demanding concepts he may ever face; requiring that he meet some of the strictest opportunities for illustrating Christ in his Christian home (and community) he may ever be confronted with.

This challenge centers on the following Five Concepts or Five Spiritual Seeds that are presented in question form. They represent seeds that need to be nurtured so they can grow and provide spiritual nutrition; becoming a part of who we are; since it’s said, We are what we eat!”

SEED #1, answers this question: What needs to happen before a man can prove he understands his own human spirit well enough that he would be qualified to be a Christ-like spiritual leader?  Proverb 25:28 requires that a man understand his own human spirit; warning him about the trouble he will encounter if he does not have, “…rule over his own spirit.” (KJV) If we do not recognize, nor specifically understand, our own human spirit, how is it even possible that we could build spiritual maturity in ourselves or in those we are supposed to be spiritually responsible for?

SEED #2, answers this question: What is specifically involved in dying to self; how does a man put his own “flesh” to death?  II Cor. 7:1 clearly instructs us to, “… cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and filthiness of the spirit.” (KJV)  Do we know how to recognize our flesh in all of its manifestations?  Do we even recognize when and how our flesh manifests itself in our everyday lives? Knowing these things enables a man to understand what is necessary to put his flesh to death, and allows him to acquire greater spiritual strength.

SEED #3, answers this question: What is necessary before a man is capable of literally understanding the mind of a woman as Christ would/does?  This capability would enable a man to discover even more about spiritual leadership and spiritual power. Then too, I Peter 3:7, commands that we, “… live with our wives in an understanding way… that our prayers be not hindered.” (ESV)

SEED #4, answers this question: What is involved in a man developing the ability to actually illustrate Christ to his wife, every day in his life?  We know that Christ was/is, spiritually mature! And, Ephesians 5:23-27 requires that we be like Christ to our wives; Romans 8:29 also requires that we be conformed to the image of God’s Son. If we are struggling in our marriages, and the evidence clearly illustrates that there is a lack of harmony and oneness, then Christ-likeness in a husband (the spiritual leader) is missing.

What resources will we draw upon to discover when, where or how we are not Christ-like? What resources will we use to help us discover how to discipline ourselves, so we would more effectively illustrate Christ not only to our wives but to everyone? How about drawing upon the help that God ordained for us? Do you know what that help is?

SEED #5, answers this question: How does a man successfully discern God’s intentions and directions in every situation? Can he interpret all of life’s physical events, in such a way that he is able to turn them into beneficial spiritual lessons?  Thereby, daily, being an example; leading his family into victorious living? Romans 8:28 says, “…all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good …” (AMP) What is the evidence that we specifically do understand, what the good is, that God wants to accomplish in everything that take place in our lives, daily?

If we are going to be an illustration of Christ to the world, doesn’t it make sense that we would have to learn these Five Concepts (plant these Five Spiritual Seeds in our own spiritual lives) before we could teach them to others?

Doesn’t it make sense that we cannot bring stability to the Christian community without personally providing the kind of spiritual leadership (especially in our marriages) that Christ would?

Doesn’t it make sense that we cannot bring stability to Christian marriages if we do not understand our own wife’s heart/spirit so well that in each situation we face in our marriages, our wives feel as though they’ve had an encounter with Christ?

Doesn’t it make sense that we cannot offer the hope of stability in the homes of other Christian, unless we are the kind of Christ-like example in our own home that brings stability? That, like Christ, we would know our wife’s spirit so well that we know what our wives would be thinking in a given situation? We aren’t guessing or thinking we know… we know! And, our wives will readily testify that we do indeed, know what their thinking would be in a given situation?

Doesn’t it make sense that we would not be able to pass on the necessary knowledge or specific understanding about the human spirit, if we don’t thoroughly understand our own human spirits, nor our wife’s spirit?

Doesn’t it make sense that if we are unable to specifically identify each of our emotions, its living proof that we are emotionally unfamiliar and dysfunctional? And when that’s true, we will not be able to identify with the emotional needs of our wives (or others) and as such we will not be capable of caring for their emotional needs. That being the case we will not be able to minister to them as Christ would.  (See Hebrews 4:14-16)

Now, having said all of that, may I propose that the most significant means God has devised; so we could develop spiritual understanding and leadership, is found within the framework of the home… marriage! It is the most challenging institution for building relationships!

Marriage is the first institution that God Himself established. His purpose is, that it is the most significant and demanding resource for training a man to illustrate Christ.

Marriage presents circumstances wherein a man’s true nature and character are revealed. Then, as necessary, he can alter his normal-to-man character; that it be conformed to Christ’s character. Marriage is also meant to be the most rewarding relationship in the world!

Concerning this role of spiritual leadership and how serious God is about it: read Malachi 2:13-15. (NASB) In it, God explains what His expectations are of spiritual leadership; expectations that require a high degree of spiritual awareness, along with a complete ability to understand our own spirit and the spirits of our wives.  Then, we can successfully provide Christ-like care for our wives and others.

Concept Review | How To Be Become Irresistible To Your Wife


18_largeUnderstand, Lead and Love Your Wife in Such a Powerful, Christ-Like Way that You Become Irresistible to Her as You Create a Marriage of Love and Peace by Ken Nair

“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord.” Proverb 18:22

There are two words in this Scripture that today, in our modern society, tend to lend themselves to potential misuse. The words are “good” and “thing.”

This verse, then, seems to be a passage that needs some clarification. I have heard men express gratitude toward their wives in many areas, ranging from cooking to sex. But seldom, if ever, have I heard expressions of gratitude for her spiritually significant thoughts.

Without clarification, the words “good” and “thing” can be defined by whomever the reader happens to be, man or woman. And, too often, a woman’s frame of reference about what Scripture is saying is influenced by a man’s thinking.

It’s a shame when we men think the good  which we would gain from a wife, that God is referring to, is that which will benefit our earth-bound, physical lives. Yes, the good can also benefit our physical lives, but I believe that God, being spiritual, intends that we would primarily derive mostly spiritual benefits from a wife.

Let’s do a word study to enhance our perspective, as we seek to understand this important verse.

Findeth (Hebrew: mâtsâ´, maw-tsaw´) to come forth, appear, exist, to attain, find, acquire, meet

Wife (Hebrew: ‘ishshâw, ish-shaw´) female, one together, wife, woman

Good (Hebrew: tôwb, tobe) good, better, best, in favor, fine

Thing (the word, thing, is not in the original language. It is added to give definition to the word, good.)

Obtaineth (Hebrew: pûwq, pook) to secure

Favor (Hebrew: râtsôwn, raw-tsone´) delight, favor, acceptable, good, pleasure

As we reflect on this creation we call woman, identified by God as Helper, it is important that we try to maintain God’s perspective as we reflect on this thing that will be for our “good”. That way we can derive the benefits that God intends.

Many of the physical tasks we face require two people. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that having a  constant  helper  in  our  spiritual  lives would also provide even more spiritual benefits? Unfortunately, most people do not consider that becoming spiritually mature requires two people in order to experience greater success.

It is typical for men to think independently. Even Scripture tells us we have a problem with our thinking. The Bible says, “Every man thinks he is right in his own eyes.” (Proverb 21:2) So, it is likely that a man’s unChrist-Likeness is not so apparent to him, even though it certainly is more noticeable to others.

This being the case, and considering the long-range and time-intensive investment necessary to accomplish the goal of Christ-Likeness in a man, how likely is it that anyone besides a wife would want to make that kind of time-intensive investment? Who, besides a wife, is willing to invest in a man’s personal, spiritual growth and run the risk of his reactions? Who, besides a wife, is willing to invest the kind of emotional stress that is inherent in helping a man (even if it is his own quest) in putting his flesh/sin nature to death, so that he might become more and more Christ-Like?

It seems that the person who is the most likely to make such a  commitment is the same person who stands to benefit the most. That person has to be around that man enough that he eventually sets aside all of his pretenses, resulting in  the real man being exposed — the hidden, unChrist-Like man. If a man’s genuine goal is to discover his flesh/sin nature, and put it to death in order to become more Christ-like, then it is indeed a blessing to have his own personal, ongoing revealer of his flesh, his soul’s enemy: which is his wife.

That is the kind of thinking that allows a man to understand God’s purpose when He wrote Proverb 18:22, paraphrased as follows:

He who, [because of God’s generous, loving foresight, made the attractions so strong that a man] would want to acquire a female to be one together with, attains [gains, is able to go, from good to better to] best, and he also is issued, [as furnished to him, has secured for him, as a part of God’s design for his life,] delight, favor, pleasure and goodness in the spiritual realm, as well as the physical realm.

Why? Because a husband has someone helping him to see his spiritual capacity to portray Christ (or not), so that he can attain that high calling in Christ Jesus. That man, becoming more and more like Christ, will be achieving a greater degree of spiritual maturity allowing him to care, as Christ would, for the spirits of all of those in his family for whom he is responsible.

That’s a whole lot of information coming from just eight words!

A man who acquires a woman as his wife will, as a natural by-product and if he will accept it, also acquire betterment for himself. This betterment is secured for him because it delights the Lord and gives the Lord great pleasure to favor a man in this way.

Now that is a good thing!

A prayer: God, it has always been Your plan to bless me. Help me to recognize more and more of Your ways and the blessings that accompany them. Let me recognize that every relationship, especially my relationship with my wife, is intended to bring blessings. Let me seek You and Your  blessings in all that I do. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

Concept Review | An Interesting Phenomenon


anger (2)1 Corinthians 13:2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, (love) I am nothing.”

   A good question might be, how could a person have the gift of prophecy, understand all mysteries, have all knowledge and have sufficient faith to move mountains, all of which appear to be characteristics found in someone who is close to God, and still not possess love?

Exodus 7:11 reveals that sorcerers can perform astounding acts.

Acts 16:16 illustrates that even an evil-spirited seer has the ability to announce the truth (an aspect of prophecy) to benefit his own credibility.

The Book of Revelation states that there are false prophets in the world.

This raises a serious question! If we possess these most wonderful attributes, how do we detect whether we actually are of God?  That’s the point of this verse from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

There is one characteristic that evil cannot duplicate or imitate: Love.

Why? Because God is Love. And God became a man, Jesus Christ, to give us a living example of His genuine love.

However, Scripture repeatedly expresses that we are not able to naturally think as God does. Therefore, it is not wise to trust our own evaluations of  whether we convey Christ-Like love.

God has provided a way for a man to legitimately validate his capacity to be loving. That way is through the effects we have on others. However, the primary source for a husband is through his wife. She is the “help” that God speaks of in Genesis.

As a wife validates her husband’s capacity to illustrate love to her, and since God is Love, there will not be a question about whether her husband’s ways are actually of God.

And, if the kind of love that God intends a man to convey to the world is validated by his  wife, then he also is able to teach that Christ-Like love by example to his children.

God wants a man to value his wife’s reflections on his capacity to be loving, and to understand His design for husbands and wives. Then, a man can detect if his ways are actually of God!

A prayer: God, I need to open my eyes and ears and be receptive to my wife’s expressions of whether I am conveying Your kind of love to her. I need the courage to discipline myself, accordingly. Show me creative ways to rearrange my thinking in preparation for this challenge. I ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Concept Review | A Reassuring Promise from The Christ


BIBLEn“Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I’ m gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your soul for My yoke is light is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)

Most of us did not receive any discipling that taught us how to actually compare ourselves with The Christ.

So, even as Christians, have not been trained to face life’s problems and the questions they pose with Christ-like understanding. Very puzzling situations and circumstances often do not seem to have discernible answers; so, we’re left to guess at how to handle life on our own. We may even attribute our answers to Christ by saying, “I think this is what Christ would do.”

Can I compare that to being in a geometry class without being taught any of the other forms of math that would prepare us to more easily handle geometry.

I’m remembering a man whom I initially thought was a spiritual giant who asked me, “How are you doing?” My response was, “Well, under the circumstances, pretty good.” I was left speechless with his response. He instantly challenged me with, “What are you doing under the circumstances, son? You’re a victorious Christian; get on top of the circumstances!”

I watched him repeat those same words to everyone he asked that same question to, who answered him with similar words to mine. I’m imagining all those people felt as scolded as I did.

I’m sure the attitude he conveyed (which didn’t at all seem demeaning to him) was passed on to him by someone whom he considered to be a mature or clever Christian. Still, his answer and the superior attitudes it represented caused me to eliminate him as a source to learn from.

But, haven’t we all repeated things we’ve heard or seen in someone else that we thought was clever or astute?  But the Apostle Paul said in, 1 Corinthians 11:1(AMP) “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ”.

On the other hand, Jesus’ invitation offered so much hope, I wanted to dig deeper into it. Here’s my word study and a paraphrase of these verses.

Come (Greek: deuro, dyoo-ro) here come hither, follow, join me

Labor (Greek: kopiao, kop-ee-ah-o) to feel fatigue, to work hard, labor, toil, be wearied

Heavy (Greek: ne, nay) as sure as, officially affirm

Laden (Greek: phortizo, for-tid-zo) to load up (as with an animal) overburden with ceremony (or spiritual anxiety) be heaven laden

Rest (Greek: anapauo, an-ap-ow-o) to repose, be exempt, refresh, take ease, rest

Take (Greek: airo, ah-ee-ro) to lift, to take up or away, carry, remove, take away

Yoke (Greek: zugos, dzoo-gos) (to join especially by a yoke) coupling connecting

Learn (Greek: manthano, man-than-o) to learn (in anyway) understand

Gentle (Greek: praos, prah-os) gentle, humble, meek.

Lowly (Greek: tapeinos, tap-i-nos) depressed, humiliated (in circumstances) cast down, humble, of low degree, lowly.

Heart (Greek: kardia, kar-dee-ah) heart, the thoughts or feelings, the middle.

Soul (Greek: psuche, psoo-khay) breath, soul.

Burden (Greek: phortion, for-tee-on) an invoice (as a part of freight) burden, task, service, something  carried.

Light (Greek: elaphros, el-af-ros) light, easy, smaller, relief

A paraphrase might sound like this:

“It’s not difficult to find myself heavy laden, feeling fatigued and weary; experiencing spiritual anxiety while trying to officially affirm, in a given situation, how I can respond to life as God would have me respond; by literally illustrating Christ. That’s why Jesus asks me to come unto and follow Him. Saying, While I was among you, I learned everything necessary to respond to life from God’s perspective. I also was able to connect with Him Spirit-to-Spirit. My goal is to pass that knowledge on to you.

Here’s what it took: I gently humbled myself, even though it meant being humiliated and cast down. That’s what enabled me to understand what you experience in this world. The benefit is, I can lift you up, to take up for you, removing your guiltiness; exempting you from God’s judgement because I stand before Him in your behalf; to represent you (after you accept the salvation my being sacrificed offers to you) so you can also have a Spirit-to Spirit relationship with God.

Following my examples, you will find relief for the burden you carry caused by not understanding how you can experience God’s answers for life. His answers will provide lasting solutions for all of life’s situations troubling your heart (spirit) and soul.

The reason why I say my yoke is light is because life’s dilemmas are no longer a burden when you have the right, definite answers. And I do have the right answers. And I want to pass them on to you, so your burdens will also be light, since you also have the correct answers… no more guessing.”

Have I mentioned, reading the Bible cover-to-cover?

Come to our Discovery Seminar this next September 9th and 10th. You can find more information about that seminar on our website www.christquestministries.com

Concept Review | 1 Corinthians 15:33 Be Not Deceived


christBe not deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners.  1 Corinthians 15:33 (KJV)

These are nine words that could be the motivation for a whole book if examples were provided with them. The verse reminds me of a dedicated parent who warns his or her children of the serious consequences awaiting them if they follow wrong paths.

Similarly, there is a program for youngsters (boys and girls)who are heading in a bad direction named, “Scared Straight.” This program takes these young people into prisons and lets them experience prison life, and talk with criminals about their lives in very graphic details; the inmates threateningly scream and intimidate them. This program has been very successful because it is so graphic in its warning.

I believe this verse has that same intent. Let’s do a word study to see so we can paraphrase it for personal application.

Be (Greek: eimi, i-mee) First person singular, present, indicative (exist) It is I, myself

Not (Greek: ouch, ookh) double negative: absolute negative, not at all, in no case, not ever

Deceived (Greek: planao, plan-ah-o) to cause to roam from safely, truth, virtue—go astray, be deceived, be seduced

Evil (Greek: kakos, kak-os) worthless, depraved, injurious, bad, evil, harm, wicked

Communications (Greek: homilia, hom-ill-ee-ah) companionship, communication

Corrupt (Greek: phtheiro, fthi-ro) to become wasted, to spoil, to ruin, by moral influences to deprave, corrupt, defile, destroy

Good (Greek: chrestus, khrase-tos) useful [in manner or morals], better, goodness, gracious, kind

Manners (Greek: ethos, ay-thos) morals, habits, manners

My paraphrase of this then is, “I must take it entirely upon myself to not at all, never, in no case allow myself to roam away from the safety of truth and virtue, and to be seduced by worthless, depraved, injurious-to-my-spirit evil companionships and the type of communications that are found in that circle. Otherwise any goodness, graciousness, kindness and moral habits or manners will be laid to waste and ruin. I will become destroyed, defiled, depraved and corrupted.”

God’s word not only tells us of the blessings He wants to give us, He also warns us of the consequences for violating His ways. He knows what the consequences are because He has designed them as a deterrent. But the choice is still ours to make. And, unfortunately, sometimes we have to experience the consequences before we trust God and yield to Him.