READ THIS FIRST

I am told that the truths that I share sometimes come across a bit too curt. Not that the truths shouldn’t be firmly held, but when I share them verbally my tone and expression and responses to the listener allow me to share the truth and the balance of grace at the same time (please listen to some of my audios for examples).

Whatever today’s topic, the full balance always involves the the following sweet coatings on the sometimes distasteful pill of truth of:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1. You are not alone, Dr. Verle Bell joins you as the chief of sinners and in no position to judge your worth, dignity, security, future, or God’s ability to help you.

2. There is Hope!

3. If you are a saved child of God, you have worth, strength, and hope just because. You can’t lose it or increase it, you have them just because Jesus died for you and loves you.

4. There are no have to‘s for us but there are a lot of sure-would-be-nice‘s. These blogs are to help you grab ahold of all the sure-would-be-nice’s God has for you in the present.

5. If you never change, grow, fight the good fight, etc, You are still a winner, for we are more than conquerors- we forever remain in his love!

Stop to think, how many people have passed through this world without confessing with God that they are a sinner in need of salvation, asking for that salvation based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Since we have, as a result we are now immortals. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Now read on to get your share of the icing!

If you ask Him nicely, He might even let you lick out of the icing bowl, just as my Mom did when I helped her in the kitchen as a boy.

SHARED COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS THEY TRIGGER

Thank you! thank you! thank you! My brain is wired to be triggered by comments and questions and I have been encouraged by recent contributions from friends.

1.COMMENTER:Oh, to have found this blog and you again! I look forward to checking this all out. I want to thank you, so much, for being on my path of growing in JESUS. Our paths crossed in the early 90’s, in Wheaton, IL. I still have the tapes and wish they were CD’s, for I still listen to the tapes periodically and hoping they don’t break. I have your book True Freedom (picked it up at the group reunion, in the UP many years ago) and enjoy reading it from time to time.

VERLE:The tapes and CD’S are all on this blog! Go to the audio selection and start with the first and you will find them. Thanks for the encouragement. God is the general contractor of our growth the author and developer and finisher of our faith. I do like being a subcontractor to do odd jobs with him helping you and others focus on His marvelous truths.

2.COMMENTER:Oh gosh! I was thinking I was doing well just to keep my mouth shut as I snatched something out of someone’s hand so I could do it the “right” way. Ouch!

VERLE:Welcome to the club. Remember that ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God to show us truth, all truth will REPROVE, then will correct that which it has reproved and then go on to equip us for any possible situation we might face. If you go to the word and it doesn’t reprove you go back and read it again.

3.COMMENTER:Thank you for the reminder that we are all on equal ground here. I remember you telling me once when I was inpatient, that the doctors and nurses and patients were not on different levels of who is higher or lower, we are all equals and trying to help each other.
As with most anything you say to me when I have to be in the hospital, this hit me well, and meant so much.
PS I even told about you telling me the story of the boy who took the cookie before dinner and guilt on my own blog the other day. It helped people see into my soul a little more since I am so much that boy. And those who already knew me best, knew exactly and immediately it was just like me.

Thank you, always, my equal sinner but equally saved and forgiven by God’s grace.

VERLE: One of our equalities is to ask God to forgive us and then not receive it or rest in it. The story is of a boy who is caught stealing cookies, has discipline administered, asks for and receives forgiveness and goes his way, 15 min later he returns, “please forgive me, I feel so bad about what I did, I’m such a bad little boy ” Mother says, “it’s not how you feel, you sinned against me and I’ve forgiven you so you are forgiven-like it or not” 20 min later he returns ” I still feel bad and have been thinking about all the other bad things I’ve done and I don’t deserve to be forgiven.”  Mother says ” It has nothing to do with deserving it, I gave you forgiveness because that is the kind of mother I am and I love to love even undeserving children who say they are sorry- so chill kid!” 20 min later then boy returns “I’m not sure I can respect a mother who forgives horrible boys like I  am, I am so un fixable and bad I am giving up and will now go live out in the woods, I don’t deserve to be part of this family” About now the mother wants to pick him up and do something to break him out of his insane self contempt. SOUND FAMILIAR?

COMMENTER:Thank you for reminding me to watch my tone and attitude. I am aging, as well as you are, and hope that I am treated with more grace than I give. Hallelujah, God is good!

VERLE: How’s that aging thing going? Have you remembered to thank God for the process of aging? We can see the results of the fall from grace (illness, tiredness, labor,aches and pains, memory problems etc.)as bad things; or we can see them as gifts from the God who learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered); and will help us go through aging with grace and learning and ministering. I knew a lady in my youth who befriended me with odd jobs and taught my sundayschool class and loved the Lord. Yet as a single old lady in a nursing home she decided she was worthless and decided to starve herself to death. A friend of ours came and took her home to be grandmother to his 12 children and she began to write to all the missionaries on the planet and pray all day long for the kingdom, even though she was week and old, she did more for God’s kingdom in the last days of her life, than in the rest of it altogether!

A fellow soldier for Jesus writes “during a recent conversation with my son he made the comment that I get mad at him a lot. I was floored! cause I am very careful not to say the wrong thing as my son has had a very difficult year with illness . he then said it was not anything I said but my tone!”

Thanks for your example. I often add to my poorly controlled tone, rolling my eyes in disgust, jumping in and “fixing” the situation that the other person is responsible for which says ” you are too lazy or incompetent and rebellious to respond to my asking so I have to cover for hopeless you!etc. No wonder no one likes to hang around with me, except my grandchildren, God bless them.
I tell you, it it weren’t for GRACE! Can you imagine watching video tapes that had footnotes on what our heart was saying played before all at the judgment! Good thing God has such a good ability to choose to forget.

Verle, chief of sinners, and I can prove it!

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF?

The truth is that we shouldn’t sweat anything AFTER we have yielded our members servants to God and been responsible in small things or big things. If we limit ourselves to moving our body members (according to a growing picture of God’s principles in action, Please memorize this phrase) ; then logically there should be not difference between tough tasks and easy tasks.

If only we were logical beings. But there is hope, God would not command us to “Let this mind be in you which was in Jesus”, who is named LOGOS  the beginning and end of all reasoning; if He did not stand ready to give us His logic.

Remember, to figure out what a healthy positive godly approach would look like we simply have to look at ” How do I normally relate to this situation?” and then DO THE OPPOSITE!

So, how do we normally SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF and thereby squander the neurotransmitters and energy God has placed in my brain to handle stress?

Ask yourself which of the following two responses would use up more calming serotonin in your brain?

A. Yes Lord I see the trial and you have helped me deal with many similar issues before, thanks for placing ——— in my life so give me grace to ask his help while doing my part, help me remember that my part is always doable and you will never allow me to be tried so severely beyond that of others that I would have now way to avoid sin which is the only outcome I should care about and all other results are Yours, and help me keep in mind all the wonderful things that will still be true no matter how this situation turns out, at the least, (and what a least!) I will live forever with Jesus as his beloved bride whom he has cleansed and presented to Himself as pure undefiled and without blemish.

B. Oh My God! I’m going to screw this up and we are all going to die!

OK you get the point. The four things we do to SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF are

1. fail to carry a grateful memory of all the things God and you have already faced.

2. Fail to ask for help from those God has gifted us with, or ask for help and then beat ourselves up for asking.

3. Focus on more than moving our body members.

4. Forget that the UNLOSABLE good things God has given us.

Now copy down response A and practice it all week and then drop me a line on how it works for you.

 

WATCH YOUR TONE, young man!

JAMES 1:6 If you put on a good show of being religious and do not control your tongue (including it’s tonal content) you fake yourself out and your heart is deceived. He who controls his tongue and uses it to build up the brethren is mightier that he who conquers a city.

This blog is for myself and possibly for you in improving God’s control over our communication. It is not primarily intended to use in judging others except for the need to pray for those who despitefully use us that they may see their problem and be delivered from all the damage sin produces.

We are to avoid the appearance of evil not just the evil itself.  In our depraved state, we love to inflict pain and we assert control over others, while convincing ourselves that we have nothing wrong, “All I said was-blah,blah,blah.” However our tone went far beyond the words to suggest that we considered the other person to be an idiot, ( the Lord considers this murder) or that the other person is being irritating, or that we feel that they are beneath us etc. We can cause hurt and pretend to ourselves and affirm to others that our intentions were pure and neutral.

Most of communications are not in the words but in the facial expression or tone of voice or posture with which they were delivered. However, these can be denied and ignored. Thus we can stab others and come out looking good to ourselves and others, but does God look on the outward appearance or on the thoughts and intents of the heart?

I have come to believe that the primary area for this games playing is in the issue of basic life information. The controlling person wants to know every little detail of the other’s activities to the point that it is irritating and the other feels controlled. “I just want to be part of your life and to be included because I care”. They create a situation where others feel guilty if they don’t share and controlled if they do . When others ask them for any information, they give as little as possible and in an irritated tone “I’m busy and you should already know that don’t you remember I told you blah blah blah .

Practice delivering directions: where things are at, when things will happen, in fact ANY thoughts or facts in a pleasant tone. I’ve noticed that everyone has the ability to control their tone because the whiny put down irritated tone only comes on when they are talking to the ones they want to, any can get away with, affect. Remember that the tone switch is subconscious, although arising from sinful urges, and you will have to listen carefully to spot yourself doing it.

I’ve seen this come out strongly in people dealing with older demented family members who have to ask the same question over and over again or make the samecomment over again. With them and with children we may need to help them do the best they can to think for themselves but still WATCH OUR TONE.

Giving it up will leave a void in which we were trying to make up for God’s slowness, in fixing the people around us, by pressuring them to see themselves our way through tonal communication. So fill the void with thanking God for the irritating people in our lives, asking Him to bless them, finding ways to minister to them, and if guided by God, talking directly and clearly to them about our concerns, apologizing for our past approaches, and being much more open to give out information ourselves. Remember that our heart’s are deceitful above all thing and desperately want to be wicked but now can’t just do deliberate open wicked acts so have sought out wickedness they can pretend just isn’t even there. Our hearts will not give up easily but if we genuinely ask the Holy Spirit to convict, He will convince us that the only way to see others change is by ceding control of their heart to the Holy Spirit and gaining more control of ourselves.

I remember a fellow Christian counselor whom I invited over for a meal and fellowship. He asked an exhaustive list of questions about me, my background, my approach to counseling, and as a brother in Christ seeking to know and be known I answered as best I could. I then ask a superficial starting question in order to return the favor and begin to get to know him more. He jumped up declaring that it was time to go, and was obviously irritated by my wanting a two way relationship!

 

BE WEIRD!

1 Peter 4:4King James Version (KJV)4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

There are only two kinds of people on this planet. The ones who think we are strange because we do not wallow in sin and those who think they are strange because they do wallow in sin. Sure there are christians who do not live in such a way that the world does not think that they are strange. Don’t you think that is strange? Let your light shine in such a way that the watching world will think “Wow! there must be a God because people just don’t act like that! God’s ways and thoughts are not our thoughts so if we begin to act in them we have to seem strange to the world. Given all the power and wisdom and just plain weirdness of God shouldn’t we seem weird too. Weirdly, being peaceful and passionate, caring and calm, striving and resting, hating sin and never having anger out of control, in the world but not having it in us, in the battle and delighting in the sure victory, Weird!

“Vex not thy spirit at the course of things, They heed not thy vexation. How ludicrous and outlandish is astonishment At anything that may happen in life.” I ran across this interesting text from Marcus Aurelius, it reminded me of a thought I have often shared. “The greatest of all insanities is to expect sanity in this crazy world.”

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
That’s a command! Quit thinking this crazy world is some sort of exception and that life is meant to be logical. Only when godliness has an influence do we find glimpses of sanity this side of heaven.
That’s a command! Rejoice and revel in partaking in the effects of sin and fighting with it by the power of God until He returns and sanity finally wins out.
Be weird and find the insanity of this world to be exactly what one would expect in a sin plagued planet. Remain calm, the Lord is in control. Don’t water down the insanity in order to feel hope, but rather look at it in all it’s awesome craziness and use it at a measure of  how much bigger is God’s wisdom and Grace.

THAT’S, EASY TO SAY, BUT IT’S JUST TOO HARD!

Have you ever used ideas such as , I can’t, I’m trying but, it’s too difficult, maybe later?

Like most things in this life of faith, the way out of the pit is to dig deeper.  For example, are you just too big a sinner to change-remember that you are probably the worst ever-so what?

You think that there are few things that you can handle on your own? There are none! You have trouble finding the right words? God made your mouth and the Holy Spirit will translate your prayers into Godspeak and give you the right words to speak before the judges of this world. You have trouble with thinking clearly, ask God for wisdom and He will give you abundantly pressed down shaken together and running over His own thoughts. For His thoughts are not even the thoughts of the brightest and best thinkers of this world.

Without Him you can do NOTHING, but with Him you can do all things that He asks you to do!

The next time you think hard difficult too much I can’t–replace these thoughts with the proper Christian self view of IMPOSSIBLE, then run to the Holy Spirit for what you need to obey, pointing out that He will have to do it but that He may borrow your body members to work through. After all, it should be no longer you who lives but Christ living in you. Too hard? Not for the ONE who lives in and possesses you.

By the way, I grew up in India and observed individual who were possessed by evil spirits. So even letting the Holy Spirit fully possess me was scary. Would I lose all? NO!

So what’s the difference between Spirit possessed dead people, such as I, and demon possessed people?:

1.We never have our will overrun but He waits for us to turn our will over to Him moment by moment.                  They have lost all personality. They have no will left.

2.We seek to bring life to all those around us.                                                                                                                          They seek only to kill and devour.

3.We hate sin and love people.                                                                                                                                                      They hate people and love evil.

4.We delight in beauty and revel in life.                                                                                                                                     They destroy the beautiful and feel trapped in life.

5.We discover the beauty of our God designed identity, His masterpiece which perfectly matches the tasks He has prepared for Himself to do through our yielded body members.                                                                                                                                                                                             They have no individual personality left and are fit for no useful task.

6.etc.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
   Sometimes it seems that our tasks and temptations are above what we are able. This verse sounds nice but seems impractical. Like Asaph in psalms 73 we complain that God’s ways might work for some but in our case they don’t. My understanding of the promise in this verse is that it is true only if our goal and attitude is godly. When you want “a way of escape” does your mind picture and desire to escape from THE TRIAL? Or is your concern that, in the midst of the trial, you might sin? If your focus is to be rid of the trial, then this verse is useless to you. If your focus is, to not sin and not have your relationship with God damaged, then rest rest rest on this promise. I have often found that when God helps me have the right attitude. then He often removes the trial also and if not He gives more grace. Then, because of my attitude, this grace is sufficient to continue in the trial safely.     2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me

Is any thing too hard for the Lord?

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation

And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.

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LONELY? THAT’S OK

Hymn by John W Peterson

1 No one understands like Jesus,
He’s a friend beyond compare;
Meet Him at the throne of mercy,
He is waiting for you there.No one understands like Jesus,
When the days are dark and grim;
No one is so near, so dear as Jesus,
Cast your every care on Him. No one understands like Jesus,
Every woe He sees and feels;
Tenderly He whispers comfort,
And the broken heart He heals No one understands like Jesus,
When the foes of life assail;
You should never be discouraged,
Jesus cares and will not fail. No one understands like Jesus,
When you falter on the way;
Tho’ you fail Him, sadly fail Him
He will pardon you today.There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!
None else could heal all our souls’ diseases:
No, not one! no, not one!

God loves you so much that He wants you to spend all eternity enjoying the greatest possible bliss. The greatest possible bliss would have to come from fulfilling of the greatest possible need. What greater need could there be than a need for Him?

Here on earth we find pseudobliss in the “pleasures of sin” but they cannot be maintained, are intense but not solid, are “for a season” and the end is death. Perhaps the most intense pleasure would be measured by the level of the number one addictive substance Dopamine. This is released naturally in response to responsible behavior and enjoyment of God approved experiences at levels up to 200. inappropriate behaviors such as sex outside of marriage or ingesting crystal methamphetamine  can shoot this up to over 1000! Of course this depleted your dopamine supply and burns out the dopamine receptors to where we no longer feel pleasure and crash into despair. WE ARE NOT INTENDED TO GET HIGH ON LIFE. We are intended to have a taste of the solid, life-giving, everlasting bliss-to-come when we see Christ and our inner emptiness is filled with the Lord.

Till then, earthly pleasures even our joy in Him, are but a shadow and encouragement to hope of that future bliss.

Even the most perfect earthly pleasure can not fill the void created in you that has a “God shape” to it and can only be filled by Him. So enjoy and savor all the gently solid real satisfying experiences and relationships that are God ordained in this life but do not mind the sweet emptiness that prepares us to revel in the Lord when we see Him face to face. Never, never try to eliminate all that emptiness or you will have to appeal to unnatural soul destroying temporary pleasures.

Blaise Pascal“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”

Thank God for the loneliness that holds the promise of so great a fulfillment. Revel in the relationships that God has allowed you do have here on earth, but don’t suck them dry by expecting things from them that they CAN NOT provide and are not intended to.  Even if it seems that all else and all others have abandoned you, you have a chance to practice this great love, that “Having you Lord I need nothing and no one else” and then giving freely to the people in our lives even though we know they will not be the source of our worth dignity and fulfillment, but He will!
Hymn by Johnson Oatman

Jesus knows all about my struggles;
He will guide ’til the day is done:
There’s not a Friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! no, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy, No, not one! no, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly, No, not one! no, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near me,
No night so dark, but His love can cheer me,No, not one! no, not one!,
Did ever saint find this Friend forsake him? No, not one! no, not one!
Or sinner find that He would not take him? No, not one! no, not one!