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The Older I Get - The Clearer I See

My goodness, a few more days and I’ll have eclipsed seventy one years of age. With the passing of time it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that I continue to change, and for the better I would sincerely hope. Experience should make us more “defined” in our walk with God if we’re paying attention to our surroundings. Not written as a crusty old grumpy senior on his last legs. I have a very young spirit. Ageless in fact! But as my inevitable mortality ticks away towards my eternity, I’m finding a greatly heightened appetite for “honesty” emerging in my soul. Not to be used as a hammer but rather a light! Honesty is the road out of darkness! We should embrace it as a friend not fear it as an enemy!

It is both interesting and concerning to me that Cristian Culture throughout history has always had within its frame work of operation a built in buffer of intimidation for those you choose to “tell it like it is”. There was a time in the not too distant past when people who refused to bury their heads in the sand would have their heads removed. Also, burning them at the stake in full view for the public to visually ingest was a popular remedy for the removal of their voices while simultaneously sending a fear-based message to the on-lookers. Us, being slightly more civilized today, simply dismiss them as being negative or critical and carry on with business as usual.

There’s no doubt that for some of us it’s “guilty as charged”. I admit, there are those who have made “fault finding” a profession. But there are many others who simply find themselves living with a sense of sadness over the pretentious state of the “Church” in utter bewilderment by the infinitesimal few who seem to care. They aren’t as much mad as they are sad! They don’t yell at the craziness they weep over it! It breaks their hearts! Perhaps indicative of how badly it breaks the heart of Jesus?

In short: Honesty for a Christian is not, nor hasn’t been for centuries, popular. So I am thankful for my age being what it is. The popularity contest that demands conformity over honesty has long since passed me by as having any relevance at all. I truly believe the twin of “honesty” is “integrity” not “conformity”.

That treadmill is well entrenched in my rear view mirror as I focus my attention on the biblically prescribed “narrow road” that lies ahead for my venturing. I’m finding that thoroughfare, only gets “more narrow” and “less occupied” with the passage of time!

I am convinced that God’s graciously imparted gift of an experientially based seniority “in Him” should absolutely create seasons of transition in one who claims Jesus as Savior and Lord. Thus, I see it as not odd that my garment of wearing is being divinely “tailored to fit”.

Pretense Or Reality

We’re not to be investing our time in pretentious behavior, are we? Biblically verified: There’s a very serious internal transformation taking place with our every breath. We, by the enablement and power of God’s indwelling Spirit are being super-naturally morphed to be image bearers of Jesus. That is why we’re here. There is no other reason. That’s as seriously real as it gets! There isn’t much room for pretense in that heavenly calling, is there?

To see as He sees. To hear as He hears. To love as He loves. To speak as He speaks. To be always increasingly reflective of the object of our affection! When making that statement I’m assuming Jesus is that object. If He isn’t then our trajectory is a million miles off course! It’s kind of a “first things first” matter to take care of. Let’s not allow pretense to hide reality. Someone once said: “Regardless of how ugly the truth might be, it’s preferable to a lie”. Our Lord did not say it, but He would have as confirmed by his dialog with the Pharisees of His day! There’s no “truth” that God can’t handle and there’s no “lie” that doesn’t tie His hands!

Stepping out of the ever-changing transient fog that has accompanied faith in Christ throughout the ages has been quite the eye opening experience. It’s true folks: “Less Can Be More”! Less of the “pretending” equals more of “Christ’s reality”!

That makes sense when we consider this truth: Our Lord never encouraged anything but radical reality in Him! It’s interesting how we’ve learned over time to “conjure up” reality with layers of “sizzle”, when the “real thing” is as close as our next breath!

If our Monday’s aren’t as radiant as our Sunday’s, then the radiance we’re experiencing is very likely synthetically induced! Folks, that’s how drug addicts live not disciples of Jesus.

The reason we aren’t taken seriously by others is because we aren’t serious, we’re pretentious.


Have you ever been watching a movie or listening to a speaker and when finished, find yourself talking with a similar accent or tone as what you’ve been exposed to? You don’t actually mean to with purpose, you just kind of do. That’s called “osmosis”. I have taken weeks to stop talking with a “southern drawl” after ingesting a few movies with that as their prevalent content.

The meaning of the word according to the dictionary: “A gradual, often unconscious, process of assimilation or absorption”. Osmosis as an ever present dynamic of life, is neither good or bad.

It depends on what one is absorbing as to its impact for better or worse. We as humans are like “sponges in the rain” when it comes to this matter. Very little passes through without some of it taking up residence in our minds. Therefore a filter of non-automatic compliance is important if we are to truly follow an untainted Jesus in all His magnificent splendor! Let’s be honest folks, there’s been much graffiti applied to His beauty. If we’ve been attending church for any time at all we’ve very likely picked up some strange precepts by “osmosis”.

The sheer delirium of it all can make one’s head spin in utter confusion as it attempts to keep up with the latest flavor of the month. We desperately need to get back to the blissfulness of simplicity. Not to be mistaken with complacency for sure, but rather something that far more resembles Christ and less us. We do know how to put on a show folks. I just wonder if God is equally thrilled with the show as we are?

When our “favorite faith healer” waves his lovely white, custom made, very expensive, jacket over the adoring crowds with the predictable falling down of hundreds, could that possibly be our demented impression of how Jesus would conduct Himself, or does it look far more like a “Vegas Magic Show”? A Simon the Sorcerer kind of performance? That the person referred to and his cronies thrive in luxury is on us folks. You see the show isn’t free and greatly exceeds money as its cost. A blind eye is a severing of conscience for the sake of a cheap thrill! Cheap and yet very expensive to the purchaser!

We need to start asking ourselves some serious questions reading the atrocities that we find strangely interesting or worse compelling! The dynamic of “Osmosis” is real folks! Jesus is not nor ever will be a side-show! He is our Savior and sacredly holy! He more than deserves to be portrayed as such.

With the obvious aside: I understand that most of what I’ve seen and heard is simply out of denominational habit and not meant to harm, but I by “osmosis” have absorbed it and now desire to shed it!

I truly want to get lighter in order to see clearer. See what, you might ask? It’s not a what but a Who: Jesus! Simple request don’t you think? But asked with a heart that loves Him more than it can barely stand at times! It is a condition I gladly live with and to be honest, I would not have it any other way!

In accordance with my desire: As the ingested biases of days gone by find their relevance being dramatically diminished, my walk with Jesus has become more simplified and far more focused on what truly matters to God and what truly doesn’t. How terribly muddied the waters can get when religiosity gets the nod over reality. To the person attempting to navigate their way down the river of a purposed life in Christ, it can be blinding. There’s a very good reason we are to be led by “God’s Spirit” and not the flesh! The Spirit gives life and clarity. The flesh creates mud!

Good News!

The good news, as a hope imparting antidote for this historied insanity? We do not have to be mired in its mind boggling craziness if we choose not to be! With the smallest of implemented spiritual courage we can soar free from it all with the freedom by which Christ has set us free! Never again to be enslaved in a yoke of bondage! Make no mistake: Religion is bondage meant to format and control one’s behavior not transform it!

Back to the basics for the sake of much needed clarity: What Jesus “actually” commanded of us was simply this: If you want to be My disciple you must, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Me”.

Rather straightforward, I would suggest. It’s not a statement that needs a doctorate in theology or a library of commentaries to figure out. When Jesus spoke those words to the multitude, the “unlearned” listeners certainly got the point as they walked “from him” and not “to Him”. They like we, weren’t looking for “truth”, they were looking for “easy” and deemed Christ’s edict as “too hard” and walked away! If those folks had been alive today, they would have like we have, complicated the message beyond comprehension in order to avoid the difficulty factor. That is exactly what religion does! It provides a smoke screen of “irrelevance” to assist in avoiding “the emphatically important”.

As a side note of interest to us all: Jesus didn’t pursue those who left with apologetic requests of negotiable terms or easier variances to His words. He didn’t chase them down with the hope of another meeting where perhaps a discussion could take place with a vote taken, to establish a consensus of a more agreeable format of pre-requests for discipleship. Something that better suited them.

It would seem NOT! As those who heard His message walked away He silently watched them walk, not at all deterred from His divine mission which obviously was not to win a popularity contest! It still isn’t!

Do you know why that very “hypothetical scenario” I just presented didn’t happened, nor could happen, nor should ever happen? We as God’s people, “have not” been given heavenly license to censor sacred edicts that derive their authority, supremacy, and legitimacy from the throne of God!

Statements that were spoken into existence from the beginning of time. God is not making it up as He goes along folks. Nor should we! It’s dangerous to do so! No alterations are necessary nor encouraged! They only make the crystal clear water that flows from Christ’s heart, muddy!

Intellect Does Not Trump Experience

We must be ever so careful to not become tragically blinded by the distraction of trivialities in an effort to appease our intellectual appetites as a cheap replacement for reality. It can happen easily, as our temporal minds demand their stimuli, while our spirits are often left to starve for their needed daily sustenance of realism. We can end up walking in a quagmire of information with zero inspiration pushing us forward to chance a stroll on the water!

You see we have figured it out: It’s so much more easy to “know it” or “say it” than “be it”, and because the vast majority are in fact “doing it”, we think “it” works. That’s a “grand illusion” of gargantuan proportion!

It’s diabolically dangerous how the mind works to make things as palatable to itself as possible. In its attempt to rationalize, or perhaps more accurately said “avoid”, it relegates the profound to accommodate its need to diminish reality as having importance. We then set off on a journey of taking great pride in the grey matter content between our ears while our hearts grow colder to Jesus by the moment. Jesus described the condition as being: “Stiff Necked”. That condition will make you “old” fast!

Folks, the bible is clear: The profound is light years beyond our minds ability to understand and can only be experienced through daily, intimate, interaction with God who is Spirit and speaks only to our spirits.

When we wrongly “for comforts sake”, alter the profound, we do the profound and ourselves a great injustice and terrible disservice. We shrink life and as our lives get smaller our God follows suit, but to be very clear: Smaller only in our minds! We as the created, can’t actually make God “less” than the totally amazing Creator He is. God said to Moses: “I am that I am”! I’d think that pretty well settles it.

A lesser God is therefore an illusion that only exists in the recesses of our limiting imaginations. The trade off? The inferior embraced when the SUPERIOR is being offered! A foolish transaction to enter into when considering the value of the alternative. A faith in Christ worth dying for and an experiential purpose in Him worth living for! In short: AMAZING!

If we will immerse ourselves with the unbridled, wide-eyed, radical enthusiasm of a child in the marvelous magnitude of God’s un-fathomable amazingness, our BIG God makes our small lives vastly bigger! Our height’s much higher. Our depth’s much deeper and our width’s much wider. Our hearts palpitate in perfect rhythm with His, as the life of Christ courses through our veins to the world with our each and every step. Now that’s amazing!

Paul Knew They Mean The Same

I would suggest, that’s exactly what Paul was referring to when he stated in Galatians 2 - 20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. Paul would confirm through his lifestyle: Not just “in” to be horded but “through” to be shared! We brag on Paul a lot but I often wonder how many of us would actually want to be him? Do we spiritually drool over his luscious reality or does it scare the living daylights out of us? Keeping in mind: The only true difference between us and Paul is our choices. The same Jesus must equal the same offer!

I also wonder if we had been in attendance that day when Jesus spoke those decisively defining words to His “short-term” followers, thus clarifying the meaning of discipleship: Would we have left or stayed? Would the message have been perceived by us as “too hard” or not? You see, it was either yes or no back then but today we have created a third option: A “censoring” of sorts.

The Watered Down Version

Just show up on Sundays with no impending need to take Jesus seriously. A “trapping” that has “trapped” us into a false sense of security I’m afraid. As I see it, the message hasn’t changed at all from our Lord’s perspective. Why would it? If it was pedestalled as supremely relevant back then, it is equally so today! Whether we like the idea or not, here is an equation we eventually are going to need to answer. Is it about quantity or quality? If indeed quality is the acceptable “collateral damage” to quantity, could we possibly perceive it as having “worth” from heaven’s viewpoint? Keep in mind: The King of heaven stood silently still over 2,000 years ago, as 5,000 walked away, so I would rightly assume the answer is, NO. “Make disciples” is our mandate not attendees.

As the old joke, that seems much less funny by the day states: “Going to church no more makes you a Christian/Disciple, than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger”. Friends, there was a time I’d laugh at that. With what I’ve experienced, I don’t laugh anymore!

Here’s what lies at the epicenter of the problem. We have separated two words that are in fact inseparable and scripturally identical in meaning. There is no such thing as one being absent of the other! “Christian” and “Disciple” are spiritual twins. Thus the twisted idea that I can be a “Christian”, but not a Disciple, is ludicrous!

You see, we can easily ignore, alter, or censor truth, but that does not mean we’ve changed it, especially when the “it” came and continues to come, directly from the mouth of the Creator.

Many churches now offer “discipleship classes” to their attendees. Do you realize what a crystal clear indicator that is to how long and badly the subject has been ignored to keep fannies in the seats?

“Discipleship” is now a “special” add-on to faith in Christ, but not taught as a necessity. “If one feels so inclined”, is the prevailing message. Just how will serious “quality” somehow magically birth itself in that sugar coated illusion, I wonder? It won’t. It can’t!

Here’s a question: What if I never “feel so inclined”? Am I alright? The inference is yes or maybe or sort of or perhaps, depending on where you hang your hat on Sundays. The honest truth? An emphatic NO, you’re not alright!

To follow Jesus is to love Him with your whole heart. To love Jesus with your whole heart is to be, “up to your neck in Him” 24/7. That’s just the way it is and anyone who suggests otherwise is lying or they simply don’t know Him themselves. Perhaps they forgot to get ”so inclined”?

We have painted ourselves into a very tenuous corner folks in order to fill our buildings. How do we now, after all this time, transition the story of the Gospel to “deny self” from “indulge self”? I repeat: “Trappings” eventually “trap us”! It’s called the spiritual boomerang effect!

It’s A Little Awkward - Honesty Always Is

While a serious “real or nothing” approach to following Jesus is amazing in its outworking, it is also awkward to apply in that it is not, nor every will be, the “majorities choice”. Therefore one who chooses such radicalism must get used to being a bit of a misfit if they so desire to move in that direction.

As a hopefully helpful impetus to diminish your newly discovered sense of weirdness, I suggest that you keep your heart fixed on the cross of Christ to see what “radical reality” actually looks like. It isn’t nor should be pretty but don’t be dismayed by the visual, be led by it! Jesus did that for you. What you would be entering into is no more or less than an appropriate response.

Not one out of indebtedness but rather extreme thankfulness. Not to “pay back” but rather, to “give back”! Not with a promise of your perfection but rather a commitment to being available to Him as He reveals His divine purpose for your life. There are times when “not fitting” into the status quo is wonderfully freeing. Peter never envied those men who stayed in the boat nor did he ever forget his few steps on the water with Jesus. The reward for having a heart after God is having a healthy heart. A healthy heart is a wealthy heart in the finest of ways. Its transcendent wealth tends to overflow to others. It changes atmospheres because Jesus indwells it. Really!

The men who “stayed put” that day of Peter’s dis-embarkment, glued to the boat in fear while rationalizing the amazing to be less so, did so satisfied with their dryness intact while Peter got soaking wet in experience! Priceless!

Just One?

The biblical math is quite startling and alarming when perused. Only “one” got out of the boat. In another story, we read of ten men who had the “death sentence” of leprosy as their identity. All being healed by Jesus, but only “one” was “real enough” to see returning to his Healer with thanks, as non-optional. He’s thinking: “I must go back”: The other nine? “Not really necessary”. Or maybe they just didn’t feel inclined? In a very real way we are all representative in a spiritual sense of those men with leprosy! We also had a “death sentence” hanging over our reality! But for the cross! Has it gotten old? It really shouldn’t ever become casual in content to our hearts. We should perpetually be responding to it. The bible tells us: The one who returned was made “whole” by Jesus. The others? Simply healed. “Healed” and “Whole” are obviously different it would seem!

Real Makes A Fuss

At twenty seven years of age Jesus swept me off my feet and in doing so He stole my heart. I most certainly and honestly wasn’t looking for Him when He found me. I’ve never questioned who loved who first as a result of our initial encounter. Jesus didn’t speak to my mind that day, He spoke to my soul and was heard “by me” loud and clear. While others in close proximity to the event wondered what all the fuss was about, I KNEW. Folks, it is very hard to “not make a fuss” when you are overwhelmed. And if God paying an unexpected visit doesn’t overwhelm a person they should really check their pulse! They might be dead!

And what could possibly be more euphorically overwhelming than to hear your Creator speak these words of personally intimate content into your unbelieving soul and may I add, without the assistance of another. My ears, having dramatically grown deaf to all others as if someone had hit the mute button to my senses, I only heard these eight words: “Bill, I am God and I love you”.

I, not being a believer in anything relating to God, but also having rationalized that if God does exist, He most certainly would have zero interest in speaking to me, the words God spoke that fateful day made no earthly sense and yet I knew they were true.

There are those among us who are truly professional at being “underwhelmed”. I’m not of that group thus I was “amazed” and “still am”, but immeasurably more so now that it has been forty four years and counting.

I would have thought “more amazed” as impossible on day one, but with forty four years in the books and using the thankful advantage of God granted by grace senioritied hindsight, I realize: Jesus only gets “more” of everything that “matters” and less of that which doesn’t.

As His beloved branches, Jesus prunes us of our collected clutter that hides His loveliness. Jesus really doesn’t appreciate being hidden folks! Clutter? You know those constantly regurgitated formulas for this, that, and the other thing, that deluge and abuse our days. If you do A, B, and C, God “has to” do D, foolishness.

They “sell” books I suppose, but are truly hideous to ingest when we consider that Jesus is the never-ending and always available, perfect revelation of the heart of God. An amazing heart we are called to emulate as we walk and talk with Him in an atmosphere of connected relationship to our true Vine! Walking with Jesus is not a dormant thing but rather a “moving” from glory to glory reality. His glory, as revealed by Him, is where “amazing” resides! We don’t visit it, we live in it!

We Don’t Create Amazing - We Walk In It

I truly love the improvisational dynamic of God’s spiritual realness. I have by grace, acquired a greatly valued friend. A fine gentleman I met about a year ago as God led us across each other’s paths in the most lovely of ways. He’s an Indian fellow/brother who is likely five years younger than myself. I use our story to illustrate, with all due respect, that what happens on Sundays is often “churched” out of routine but real “CHURCH” is an everyday reality! In fact when routine is removed things get even more radiantly real!

Thinking back I remember the encounter as follows: I was heading north on foot to the grocery store I often frequent to pick up a few items. There’s a bench just outside the store upon which this unassuming, brown skinned, stranger was sitting.

I have mentioned in previous writings that there is such a thing as “Holy Nudges”. In that they are “Nudges”, they don’t knock you off your feet. They are “gently persuasive” as is God! You never know the “why” behind the Nudge but you most certainly sense its prompting. And so it was that day as I cozied up next to my “to be” eternal friend for a chat. In a matter of minutes we both “knew” all we “needed” to know, as confirmed by the internal witness of God’s Spirit. We equally shared the same wonderful Jesus.

I’ve heard many a story regarding our brethren in the middle east where being a Jesus follower is against the law and punishable by imprisonment or death. It seems that they just know if you are or aren’t without a single word being spoken. I truly believe it! Evidently they meet secretly, hidden by the darkness of night in heavily bushed areas and sing with no volume, mouthing the words to hymns they have learned. I wonder if they can hear internally what they can’t express externally? My goodness, what “amazing reality” they must envelope in their daily lives!

So there my friend and I were on the bench instantly and fully aware of each other’s “in Christ” status. We spent the next hour raving non-stop about Jesus. Not a word of silliness. No timed luxury for that. We may not see each other again this side of heaven and we knew it, so taking full advantage of this God granted gift was of equally shared paramount importance! It wasn’t cute folks, it was realer than real! The presence of heaven visited us as we traded favorite song titles accompanied with our duet vocal stylings with volume. On an ugly red bench outside of a grocery store God, the Creator of the universe, spent time with us! Value beyond measure, as is the value of reality!

Since then we have had our lives orchestrated by God to meet up twice more, the latest being just last week. Same bench. Same presence. Nothing’s changed. There’s an amazing consistency within the fragrant content of reality. You see, “amazing reality” is a gift of grace, available to all who would dare to shed the trivial and enter into the transcendent.

“In it but not of it” must be our commitment if real is our desire. Not to be mis-understood as an easy path and certainly the most narrow of roads to sojourn with Christ, but the reward of its immersion makes the cost seem trivial by comparison! But be sure: It will never be popular. It never has been!

For many years I have observed the life-long residents of the “churched wide-road” all nicely nestled in their comfort zones. Knowing the offer of complacency permeates the air I breathe scares me to death! I think it should! I actually believe that a person can be utterly lost, but if their lostness is hidden within the confines of habitual institutional behavior, they might never know just how lost they are.

Personal Honesty Is The Key

We have developed an allergy to honesty folks. We pretend a lot! We are well rehearsed! We can fool each other and do so on a regular basis. We have leaders who will instruct us when to and when not to, do things like raise our hands in worship as if “Simon Says” is actual worship. But it does look good! Imagine the ridiculousness: We need people to tell us that! When to sit and when to stand. Oh we are an organized lot, to the hilt and to our detriment. Services are timed with strict adherence. What if God’s glory fell five minutes before “good-bye” time? I guess He’d have to come back next week at a more appropriate time?

We are creatures of routine. We “comatose” our way through church services as we do our lives, with just enough “Amen’s” to sound as if we are interested. We yawn our way through communion every month year after year with very little if any sincerity felt. Just a part of the over-all ritual which loses its meaning the moment we leave the sanctuary. How do I know?

Because I’ve experienced this truth far too often to be considered happenstance: It would take a search party to find a heart-felt word spoken in reference to Jesus after the fact. By habit, we do this every week. It’s what we do. Talking about Jesus is strangely uncomfortable for most of us. Everyone? No, just the vast majority. A pet-peeve I’ve never been able to figure out.

So I must ask myself, because that’s what I do: If Jesus were “in person” standing in that church lobby would He get any more attention than He does now? You see here’s the big problem with the question: We claim He is! Or is that more of a: He’s not here-here, He’s here-ish? Just more of the pretense that envelopes our lives, I’m thinking?

Honesty Is Harsh

Within its content it challenges the status quo to the core. It’s neither pleasant or comfortable. It can’t be. It steps on toes! It doesn’t get “responded to” it gets reacted to. Our Lord’s honesty lost Him the crowd and eventually cost Him His life. But, it is the needed prevailing substance of the “narrow road” walk with Christ. Without it there is no truly legitimate road at all. Without it there’s only pretending. My heart breaks for the pretenders because I know where they are and what they’re missing. But what is the alternative? To say nothing? Is that loving? Is that caring? I think not and would define silence as being cowardly convenient. I have seen way too much of that to participate in it. More honesty!

One day in the not too distant future I will stand before Jesus. He will ask me if I said what I was directed to say or did I censor Him. I am almost seventy one. I don’t believe I have the luxury of giving the wrong answer. God gives gifts. I consider being allowed to write as such. But with a gift there comes responsibility. In this case, not to the reader but to God. I don’t write fiction!

So I encourage you with the love of Christ to consider the massive cost of pretending. The self-induced forfeiture of AMAZING! You see, once a heart becomes satisfied with the synthetic, it severs its ability to recognize the need for reality? That is why they all stayed in the boat other than Peter.

The inspiring news as Peter would most certainly confirm: Be the one! With all your heart, be the one! Do not let fear keep you in the boat! Don’t let the majority consensus take ownership of your relationship with God. It’s yours! Be the one!

The Lord rewards the courageous with amazing! Honesty and the shedding of pretense is the pathway. Besides and to be considered seriously: Does anyone actually think they are fooling God with compounded sizzle. He lives in HEAVEN folks. The singular thing that impresses God from this world, is an available contrite heart.

Like it was with the widow and her meager “all she had left” offering, that was mocked by the Pharisees as being insufficient: Those few pennies were roundly applauded by heaven as being all-sufficient and most worthy of being honorably mentioned in the bible. Don’t you just love how Jesus exalts the humble above the haughty!

To be noted for our prosperity formula adherents: The woman didn’t become rich due to her offering. The widow became “applauded”! A “divine richness” that all the money in the world can’t buy.

The Stark Reality Of It All

Jesus is amazing. Totally so! That’s an eternal given. The question is: Do we honestly want Him to be so in our lives? It’s not very complicated is it? Yes or no. That’s it! Jesus will respond in a single heartbeat to whatever our “yes or no” is. I would strongly encourage a “yes”. Otherwise, why would I have written this book. “To be honest”!

But one must understand: For every “resurrection” there must be a “death”. A denying of one’s self, and a picking up of one’s cross, both of which preface the act of “following Him”. There are no “sugar coated” short cuts. Many have put the cart before the horse and it won’t work. Jesus said as much and His words are always the determining factor. It may seem as such in the light of our “odd at times” Christian Culture with its strange variances, but we don’t get to have our own version of truth. Jesus said clearly: He is the truth and apart from Him there is none. That’s as honest and caring as I can be to people I honestly care about!

But who in their right mind could resist: “A faith in Christ worth dying for and a purpose in Him worth living for”. That deserved repeating folks! It just doesn’t get better than that my friends! You can make it easier but you cannot make it better!

We haven’t the luxury of waiting for the majority to come on board. They aren’t going to. But I as an individual who desires that my heart would beat in synchronization with Christ’s, have no option but to dive head-long into the depths of His reality with abandon. I may have to activate that leap of faith alone but trust me: Heaven will applaud and I will hear it! As will you if that is your choice!

I’d like to conclude with the re-sharing of a hypothetical short story I wrote quite a while back. It comes to mind and is very applicable regarding our chat.

The Perfect Tree

A Father and his oldest Son ventured out the day before Christmas to find the “perfect tree”. Their search would exhaust their entire day but as the sun set there it was in all its magnificent glory.

They ever so gently loaded it into the car as to not damage its branches and rushed home to share their discovery with the family.

“Oh my, the tree is shockingly perfect in every way”, they declared. It was now late but in their excitement, this was no time to sleep. Decorating this specimen of perfection was deemed as  an immediate priority. Sleep could wait!

The family had overtime accumulated boxes and boxes of decorations, which they hurriedly applied one by one to the tree.

As time passed and with their sleep deprived eyes closing, they just had to take a step back to admire what they had accomplished.

While the vast majorities conclusion proclaimed the tree’s “enhanced by them” beauty, the youngest of the family wept.

The majority, thinking the little guy/minority to be “over tired”, politely asked him what the problem was.

While unable to hold back his tears the younger one noticed something profoundly true as he choked through his emotions to express his heart: “I can't see the “perfect tree” any longer! Where did it go and why are you applauding its disappearance?”

I’ll leave the spiritual moral to the story for you to conclude.

Jesus Never Changes

When I was twenty seven years old my heart said: “Oh my, Jesus is shockingly perfect in every way”. I’m still saying it at the ripe old age of “almost” seventy one. I suspect I’ll continue saying it into my eternity, seeing as Jesus never changes!

While everything else that envelopes our lives fluctuates with the wind, Jesus stands radiantly and unchangingly glorious, adorned in His altogether loveliness on a road He himself described as narrow! What a visual to walk in! What a presence to be led by! And oh, what amazing grace that allows us the privilege to do so!

So yes, here I am “almost” seventy one years of age and desiring to lose weight. The ornaments and trappings, that so desire to weigh my soul down with their incessant clutter, are to be gone for good. As far as knowing? I want nothing more than to “know” my “untainted” Jesus and the power of His resurrection. He is my “perfect tree” and In Him I shall put my trust! Who else?

A short word of inspiration to the curious: There is no “specific age” to do this. Don’t wait until you’re “almost” seventy one. The earlier the better, the longer the amazing, as I see it! Besides and again to be honest, I took the plunge a long time ago!

Hopefully my honesty has not offended but rather inspired the readers to reach higher. That is the books intention.

My Ministry - Our Ministry

Mark 6 - 38 & 41: “How many loaves do you have He asked?” “Go and see”. When they found out they said, “Five and two fish”. Taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to His disciples to DISTRIBUTE to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all”. ( Five thousand plus, were fed that day! )

In the biblical story of the “fishes and loaves”, I so clearly see three dynamics in play to achieve the desired completion of the heavenly orchestrated equation. The young boy GAVE what little he had, our Lord then MULTIPLIED it, and the disciples then DISTRIBUTED it.

It’s interesting to note that Jesus, after the multiplying didn’t say, “Come and get it”. What He did say was, “Everyone find a place to sit on the grass and I’ll bring it to you, through my own”. Folks, He loves to involve us. He loves to make us matter! We are blessed beyond measure to be written into, His stories! Just imagine: Invited by Him to participate in His plans for others!

From the inception of the idea of writing books to be made available to “all freely”, there has never been a moment when I haven’t been aware of its ministry context. I could easily be seen as the “young boy” in the story. Jesus has most certainly multiplied my meager offering to Him.

So may I invite and encourage you to be a distributor of that which He has multiplied, thereby elevating “My Ministry” into “Our Ministry”, thus completing “His Ministry”. There’s something about that idea that sounds “perfect” to my heart!

We all have friends, family, work mates, school mates, etc. I’ve included a simple directional on “how to find” the “fishes and loaves”. Please feel free to share “what you eat” with others. You have no idea where it could lead to! That young boy’s mother could never have dreamed, what that little lunch she had prepared for her son on that fateful morning, would produce!

To find a full complement of “Free Ebooks” I’ve written: Google - “Smashwords About Bill Taylor”. The provided link can be saved to “favorites” for easy and convenient future use. The link will take you directly to my “Bio” where all titles and covers are displayed. Thanks again for your much appreciated support.

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