Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas, 2011

11 December 2011

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the very precious gift that the Lord God gave to humanity, which is His son Jesus Christ, born to the virgin Mary.  We celebrate His birth.

However a few days ago, the thought came to Helen that when we celebrate birthdays for family and friends these days we celebrate all that they have become.  We celebrate and rejoice in who they are today.

There is a place to celebrate the gift of the baby in a manger, as the angels and shepherds did that first Christmas night.  Nevertheless we also need to celebrate Him as He is today.

And how is that?

Revelation 1:12-18 describes Him as He is now.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;
15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;
16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

So we see that John fell at His feet as dead when he saw the Lord Jesus as He is now.  And we will, too.  But the Lord Jesus will raise us up and say, "Don't be afraid." as He has done so many times in the scripture.

Today, Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Yet He loves us tenderly as a shepherd who loves each one of His sheep, as a shepherd that would leave the ninety nine back in the sheepfold and go out at night and search for us, anyone of us, who wandered away and became trapped, seemingly hopeless.

Today, Jesus Christ is a savior, as it says in Psalm 34:6
This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.

Why?  Because of His great love for us.  Rejoice!

Larry Carroll

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Hopeless?

12 September 2011

There is an account in the scripture in which the circumstance has all the signs of hopelessness, until the Word of the Lord Jesus turns the situation around 180 degrees.

Mark 5:35
While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

These same thoughts will come to us saying, in essence, "It's hopeless.  Why bother to pray any further?"  However, Jesus stepped in with these words:


Mark 5:36
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, Do not be afraid; only believe.
 
Jesus then proceeded to raise the little girl from the dead.
 
Are your circumstances hopeless?  Is there no point in praying anymore, since things are too far gone?
 
No circumstance is hopeless.
 
Jeremiah 32:17 says:
Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

"OK", you say, "He can rescue me, but will He rescue me in this situation?  Or will He ignore me?"

The Lord God is called Father all through the scripture for a good reason.  He loves His children.

Psalm 103:13
As a father pities his children,So the LORD pities those who fear Him.

The Lord Jesus reveals the nature of our Father, as it says in Hebrews 1:3
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power,...

And Jesus turned no one away who asked for grace, mercy, or healing.

He will save us, too.  Don't be afraid, only believe.

Larry Carroll

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Apple Picking Time In July

July 6, 2011

It's apple picking time - for the squirrels in my backyard!  Alas.  I saw them steal my apples with my own eyes.  They started in earnest two days ago and pretty much have taken them all now.  The squirrels are also taking many of the blueberries, and I believe the chipmunks took all of the gooseberries.

Vermin: "small common harmful or objectionable animals that are difficult to control or manage."
Do you think squirrels and chipmunks fit this description?  I do.  There are so many it's like a plague.

And yet, and yet - Habakkuk 3:17-19
17Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18Yet will I rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

So I am at peace.
 
Larry Carroll

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Psalm 23 - In the 2nd Person

18 May 2011

Psalm 23 is so often read at funerals. And that's OK, but it's a psalm for living moreso than for dying. I was reading it and noticed how easy it would be to rewrite it such that it addresses the Lord God all the way through (2nd person), since more than half of it is already written this way.

The Lord God is good - is exceedingly good - is wholly good - is only good - is absolutely good. And He loves us.

See what happens when you pray this psalm and/or declare these truths.
Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, You are my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 You make me to lie down in green pastures;
You lead me beside the still waters.
3 You restore my soul;
You lead me in the paths of righteousness
For Your name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in Your house, O LORD,
Forever

Blessings on you,
Larry

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday

23 April 2011

Good Friday

Was Good Friday a good day?
Is this a trick question?  No, it isn't. OK, maybe it is.

There are two sides to this. On the one hand, our precious Lord Jesus suffered extreme torture on Good Friday. So, we can all certainly understand why so many people would say that Good Friday was definitely not a good day.

On the other hand, it is called Good Friday.  There must be a reason for this name, and the only reason that comes to my mind is:
As of that moment in time, we were and now are all allowed into the presence of our most holy Father, the most Holy Lord God Almighty. We are allowed into the Holy of Holies. We enter by the blood/death of the Jesus, the Lamb of God.

Not only that, we are welcomed in! This is exceedingly good news! Whoever wants to come in is welcomed in!

Now, why do I say, "as of that moment in time"? All three of the synoptic gospels tell us that the temple curtain was torn open from top to bottom at the time of the crucifixion. This signified that the separation between God and people (us) was and is no longer there.

Matthew 27:51
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,
Mark 15:38
38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Luke 23:45
45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

So to me, Good Friday was a very bad day, but now is a very good day! Hallelujah!

Larry Carroll

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lord Jesus, Please Drive

05 April 2011

Lord God, Lord Jesus, You Can Drive

Lord Jesus, please drive.

I have a friend who wanted to spend time with me, but had other things he wanted or needed to do, too. So he asked me to come along with him as he attended to his errands. It was sort of OK, but was not really a good time of fellowship. He was quite distracted, and conversation was interrupted frequently. I was just tagging along after him. We won't be doing that again, well, probably not.

I don't want to treat the Lord Jesus like that.

 Lord Jesus, I want and need Your presence, where You're the driver - where You're not just tagging along after me or with me while I'm driving.

As the song by Brian Johnson says - Lord Jesus, where You go I will go, what You say I will say.

Where You Go I’ll Go
[Where You go I go
What You say I say
What You pray I pray
What You pray I pray

Jesus only did what He saw You do
He would only say what He heard You speak
He would only move when He felt You lead
Following Your heart following Your spirit

How could I expect to walk without You
When every move that Jesus made was in surrender
I will not begin to live without You
For You alone are worthy and You are always good

Though the world sees and soon forgets
We will not forget who you are
and what You’ve done for us]
To see more -> http://brianandjennjohnson.com/

 We know that our Lord Jesus was not too busy to spend quality time with Father. I can think of two places where this is documented.

1. Mark 1:35 says, "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."

2. After the feeding of the 5000, Matthew 14:23 says, "And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there."

(Interesting - I see Jesus prayed both morning and evening.)

And we know that the time He spent alone with Father was joyful, since Psalm 16:11 says,
"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

We have found this to be true when we are alone with Father, too, haven't we?

Larry Carroll

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Walking In Intimate Delight

23 March 2011

"Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away,
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell,
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away! (from Song of Solomon 2:10-13)

God's plan was and is for us to walk in intimate delight with Himself in the garden, in the cool of the day. Adam lost this privilege, but on the cross Jesus bought it back again for all of us.

Now we have choices to make. I want to focus on one.

Here's a parable about a merchant that made a good choice.
Matthew 13:45,46:
45. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,
46. "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

So, why did the merchant sell all that he had to buy the pearl? Because it was worth it. The pearl was worth it all, and likewise it's worth it for us to sell all that we have to gain a precious intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus - to know Him, and for Him to know us.

In Philippians 3 Paul shared that he had everything going for him. However, he writes:
7. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9. and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10. That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

A very precious truth was revealed to Paul, and he made the right choice.

And why would we sell out for the Lord? Because He's worth it!

Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
This sounds a lot like Matthew 6:19-21:
19. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20. "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal,
21. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Psalm 16:11 says, "You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 27:4 says, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, That will I seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple."
David had a clear revelation of the Lord God. Here he made the right choice.


What are some things that hold people back from growing in intimacy with the Lord Jesus? Or what diverts our attention so that we forget about the Lord and His goodness and beauty?

1. Ignorance or blindness or a misconception of the Lord God

This could be based on a view of the Lord God as an unloving, judgmental task master. The truth is, you are precious in the sight of the Lord, and greatly beloved. This is illustrated very well in Luke 15 in the parable of the prodigal son.

2. Good things, delights, beautiful and amazing things, wonderful new discoveries, and those things we would normally call blessings from the Lord.

A lot of people find themselves torn. They know what's best but find themselves "half in" and "half out". However, we know that "half in" and "half out" doesn't work.

Jesus said this to the Laodicean church in Revelations 3:15-16:
15. "I know your works, that they are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16. "So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth."

Jesus said this in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:24:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (wealth)."

3. Pain

4. Fear

A. What would I be getting myself into? (The answer is, a great adventure and whole lot more.)
B. What will other people think? (Who cares? Find a group of like minded believers, and hang out with them.)

5. Inertia - or apathy

Keith Green wrote this:
Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear.

6. Busyness and stress

Luke 10:39-42:
39. And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.
40. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
41. And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
42. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

What to do if you're not satisfied with your present level of intimacy with the Lord Jesus?

If you want intimacy with the Lord Jesus, you need to pursue it. You need to press in.

When the Jews were in exile in Babylon, the Lord gave them a promise in Jeremiah 29:11-14:
11. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
14. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; ...
This is true for us, too.

Time with the Lord is key. What would you do if you were courting/dating/wooing/romancing/pursuing someone? You would make very sure you could spend lots of time with that special person. Time with that person would have a very high priority. And so it is here.


Some steps to take to build greater intimacy with the Lord Jesus:

1. Tell the Lord Jesus that you love Him. Tell Him frequently. Find ways to express your love to the Lord.

2. Make time for the Lord. Enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise, as it says in Psalm 100:4.

3. Ask the Lord Jesus to shepherd you through to greater intimacy with Him. He will. He wants you to succeed in this venture.

4. Keep a written journal of your spiritual adventures, quiet times, learning experiences, revelations, and tough times and subsequent deliverances. As time goes on, this will become a very precious document of your interaction with the Lord.

It's worth it.

Some will also need discipling in parallel to the above search for intimacy. Here are some steps:

1. Decide that you're in, not just half in. Declare it out loud. Declare it in the presence of some other person if you can. Declare this, "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back." If you need to repeat this step five hundred times, do it.

2. Ask for a fresh cleansing baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire (the fire which burns away the dross).

3. Find a mentor. Ask the Lord to provide just the right person for you.

4. Search the scriptures to find all the necessary tools/gifts/graces the Lord God has for you to build you up.

5. There may be strongholds the enemy has used to capture you in some unholy/unhealthy habits. These will be broken if you pursue the Lord. You might need to ask others for help. Don't be embarrassed to ask. Strongholds are widespread.

6. Make the right choices - daily. If you goof up and make a bad choice, repent and then make the right choice next time. You may also have restitution to make with others.

7. If an enemy attack comes against you in mind, body, or soul, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Larry Carroll

All scripture above comes from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Appendix A - Songs That Present the Same Truth as Above

1. We sing:
All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now compared to this
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love You Lord! (by Graham Kendrick)

2. We also sing:
Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I see (or seek)
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me. (by Keith Green)

They both know, or knew, something very precious. It sounds like they made the right choice.

3. Our parents, and some of us, used to sing:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. (It's true.)

4. We also sang:
And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own;
and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known. (Hallelujah!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Indwelling of Christ

05 March 2011

Many good, caring believers find themselves trapped in a state described so very well in Romans 7:21-25.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good.
22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.


How to get out of this horrid state? The answer is right there in verse 25, "through Jesus Christ our Lord!"


Romans 8 expands on this deliverance and shares both the means by which this happens and the freedom which it brings.

The means by which this happens, the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, is found in Romans 8:9-11.

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.


Do we just go on living with the hope that the Holy Spirit will someday come upon us?

No. Our part is to put ourselves in a place where we can receive this indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We cry out to the Lord to save us from this wretched state, rejoice that He will, and then remove distractions from our lives as they are revealed to us. Trust and obey.

We especially need to be freed from the lie that this new normal life will bore us to tears. Psalm 34:8 says, "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good." (Exceedingly good) In fact, the adventures we will start to experience will sometimes scare us to death (so to speak). Later as we look back at them (in our journals), they'll blow us away. We will experience life to the full.

Larry Carroll


All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If Only We Knew From How Much We Have Been Forgiven

If only we knew from how much we have been forgiven.

1 February 2011

Luke 7:37-48
37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil,

38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
40 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”
So he said, “Teacher, say it.”
41 “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

42 And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.
45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.
46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.
47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”


Romans 3:10-18
10 As it is written:
“ There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 “ Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“ The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “ Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “ Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “ There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

If only we knew from how much we have been forgiven, we would kiss His feet, too!


Larry Carroll

All scripture quoted is from the New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.