AUTHOR - BILL TAYLOR
COPYRIGHT 2017 - BILL TAYLOR
PUBLISHED BY BILL TAYLOR AT
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Does Everything Need
To Be Un-Natural?
6 - 35: “But love your enemies, do good to them and lend to them
without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be
great and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind
to the ungrateful and wicked”.
short answer to our opening question is, YES. Perhaps the better
descriptive for un-natural in reference to us and our walk with God
should be super-natural. But not to be mistaken with Hollywood’s
versions which have super-heroes, leaping over tall buildings with a
single bound. No, our buildings are climbed one brick at a time. We
are by grace, living in a divinely appointed process of shedding our
natural, having it replaced by the nature of Jesus. A nature that is
in no way related to the mindsets of this world. In fact,
diametrically and emphatically opposite.
the ongoing, reality of the mentioned “process” we can and often
do, get caught in “The Trap” between two natures. It can be very
frustrating to say the least. We know Who we desire to be like, and
yet when faced with our moments of decision, our nature fights for
its say in the matter. We all have a “child within” that screams
for attention through tantrums.
danger? These little ones always make “logical sense” as they
present their cases in the courts of our souls!
says: “Turn the other cheek”. Our child says: “Not on my
watch”. And we: Get caught in the trap between two voices.
Corinthians 5 - 21: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”.
are all on a journey complete with a transformation as its goal. To
become progressively more like Jesus is our daily destiny. Along the
way we are challenged with decisions all of which are determined by
our answer to this one question: Will be side with ourselves or our
essence, the cross was never meant to make us better people but
rather “new people” with a “new nature” to immerse our
mindsets in. As we peruse the life of Jesus we quickly come to
realize: The most Christ like thing we will ever do is say NO to self
and YES to our Lord! Thy will, not my will, is the textured road we
walk. I’m convinced: “Thy will” leads me to “thy nature”. I
don’t believe there is any other thoroughfare that will get me
it easy? Not at all. “Self” is a powerful dynamic that has a long
history of running the show. How could its death be easy? It won’t
give up control with a simple “shush”.
is this spoken of road glorious? Most certainly yes! What could
possibly be more incredible than becoming a more accurate reflection
of the object of our affection!
Bad For Bad = Bad
a lot of grey between white and black in God’s heart. We humans
like to think of right and wrong as clear cut concepts with no middle
ground for spiritually insightful negotiation or a grace
application. It’s our natural default to find fault! It’s called
“the blame game” which is meant to absolve us from all fault, but
strangely never does.
tendencies allow us license to proceed with clear cut responses to
our interactions with others. I am right, therefore they are wrong,
case closed! Neat, tidy, and to the point. So why the unpleasant
said: “Judge not”. When reading the words of our Lord, there are
times when what He didn’t say is equally important as what He did.
didn’t add qualifiers or exceptions to the rule with his caution.
He also didn’t say, call wrong right. Therefore His omissions can
leave us with an eerie greyness of direction. It’s almost as if
Jesus wanted to see what we would do with His two word statement.
usually choose to forge through with our well thought out justified
stance of correctness, but not with a great sense of comfort, often
left with this haunting dilemma: If my feelings are so perfectly
justifiable, then why does my expressing them make me feel so
is a blessing, but too often accompanied with humiliating pain.
Perhaps the bigger and more profound the lesson, the harder the road
is to its completion, with our “child within” screaming all the
our brother Peter at the “last supper” when Jesus informed His
disciples that they would all leave Him when the heat got turned up :
“I don’t know who you’re talking to but not me Lord! I don’t
know about these other guys but not me. I would die for you! Don’t
forget the boat incident Jesus. I was the only one who got out! I’m
better than them”: Said Peter’s child!
things happened within mere hours, following Peter’s declaration of
his invincible faith. A soldiers ear left his head followed by a
denial, with Peter in the middle of both events.
the soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus, Peter whipped out a sword and
with the vigor of a swashbuckling pirate cut off the ear of a Roman
think Peter was still miffed by what Jesus said over supper. This was
a kind of: “I told you so. How do you like me know”, moment of
synthetic adrenalin courage? Why would I think such a thing? Because
in very short order, the same Peter minus the adrenalin, would deny
knowing Jesus three times in the scary presence of an unarmed little
girl and her queries.
Jesus was left with the job of re-attaching the man’s ear complete
with a serious rebuke for Peter’s ears to hear. It wasn’t a
passing comment nor a moment of learning. I believe Jesus spoke it
with some stern emotion. He had a very important point to make and it
wouldn’t be accompanied with a pat on Peter’s head. Jesus said:
“Peter, if you live by the sword you will die by the sword”!
thinking, Peter’s thinking: Wow, I just defended You and you’re
rebuking me? I’m thinking, Jesus is thinking: I didn’t ask you
to defend me but rather represent me and you can’t do that with a
sword! A sword has no place in Me being represented. Peter did you
notice, I don’t have one and nor should you.
I co-relate the sword incident with our Lord’s earlier caution of:
“Judge not”. Judgement can be like a sword in a spiritual sense.
Ears that need to hear, are often removed from heads when we judge.
Did you ever wonder why, in our Lord’s worst moments, He cared to
take the time to restore that guard’s ear to perfect working
condition. He knew that man would need to hear: “Forgive them
Father for they know not what they do”, in the very near future.
did say: “Judge not” but that wasn’t the end of it. He further
said: “lest you be judged”. “If you judge, you will be judged.
If you don’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven”.
7 - 1 &2: “Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the
same way you judge others you will be judged and with the measure you
use, it will be measured to you”.
here’s the chilling part: He didn’t add exceptions to the
command! He didn’t say: Unless he or she or they, did this or that
or the other thing. Why was He so adamant and unbending? Did He not
know the “kinds of things” we would run up against in life? Of
course Jesus knew as did Stephen when he was stoned to death with
forgiveness on his lips.
see the “things in life” aren’t the point. Apart from one,
every early disciple of our Lord was executed for their faith, with
the one exception being John. Added to that, the undocumented,
uncountable, people who met the same fate. “Things in life”, used
as justification for withheld forgiveness and judgement were not a
dynamic in these folk’s lives.
was a different time no doubt, but the message to His church hasn’t
changed: “I didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but
that through Me the world might be saved”. And My church is to
“represent” Me in like manner. Folks, we aren’t here to
represent ourselves nor our “things in life”, but rather our
Savior who gave us life.
Savior who sat with sinners who were nothing like Him, and yet they
liked Him. Jesus, who touched the un-clean without feeling the need
to call them un-clean. The Messiah who talked to a Samaritan woman,
imparting a dignity into her life she had never experienced before.
The Holy Son of God who forgave His abusers from a cross while being
mocked. This is who Jesus is! The question: Do we really want to be
is the standard of the One we represent! And who was He representing?
His Father in heaven. He said: “I’ve come to reveal the Father”.
Also: “If you’ve seen Me you’ve seen the Father”.
we don’t adhere to our Lord’s directive in this area, here’s
the unavoidable problem incurred. We, by our own choices, move out
from under the umbrella of His grace and fall under self-inflicted
judgement, unless we think Jesus didn’t mean what He said.
why we feel rather rancid after the fact. Going from grace to
judgement can be quite the nauseous fall! Oh we may have our fleeting
moment of: “How do you like me now”, but like Peter, it will be
so harsh? Because when we judge, we are telling our Lord that we have
forgotten all that we have, and continue to be, forgiven of.
Forgotten forgiveness is a deadly dynamic to the soul and an insult
to our Savior.
Peter we could say: I was just defending You. And Jesus would say:
Representing Me and defending Me are two very different things.
One calls for a sword the other demands grace. A grace that we have
freely received and are asked to freely give.
mentioned in previous writings a question I was asked by a
well-meaning brother: So when do we push back? I answered: “Never
we love back”. I have a better answer now: “When Jesus pushes
wanting to present a dilemma without a hopefully helpful resolve,
please allow me in closing, to share a real life personal story about
a death. My death!
to not alarm, I’m referring to the death of the “child within
me”. Oh, he still attempts a comeback periodically, but for the
most part he has been silenced, which is about as close to death as I
could hope for, considering his once mighty power in my life.
truly amazing what God can do when we allow Him to deal with our
see, that’s where our faulty nature resides. Once that child is
relegated, “the gap”, which causes “the trap” between our
nature and that of Christ, dissipates rather dramatically.
begin to see forgiveness and grace becoming our “new default”
which we quickly run to as our first choice of response. Our Lord’s
prescribed choice. The best choice for everyone, which includes
ourselves. We then develop an uncanny ability to differentiate
between that which truly matters and
that which doesn’t!
grace and forgiveness is not our first option, it will predictably be
our last. It’s interesting how that works. Our initial choices set
us off in a direction that tends to predictably run full cycle.
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ROSE AND THE THORN
HEARTS - NO LIMITS
ROAD LESS TRAVELED
IN CHINA SHOPS
IS A JOURNEY
HEART IS SACRED
- IT’S A NEW DAY!
FRIEND - MY PEACE - MY LORD
DECIDE - CHOICES
REAR VIEW MIRROR
LOVE MADE PERFECT
GRACE - AMAZING SAVIOR
ME HOLY SPIRIT
- GOD IS NOT INTIMIDATED