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Mark is coming back!

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Mark Schultz is coming to Marion (his hair is not)

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February Newsletter- Inferior Living

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We’ve just stepped into a new era, the election has come and gone, inauguration has taken place.  Elections are what man does to man.  They don’t really hold the power of what The Father has done or does for man.  In the Kingdom that Jesus established, believers live in a circle within a circle separated by their simple faith in the middle of a world of trouble.  None of this surprises God, not even our choices to look the other way, away from Him.  He doesn’t need to re-invent the future, doesn’t have to come up with plan B.  He has prepared a way to live that’s allowed for the ‘miss’ that culture makes and has purposely set aside a place for His children to experience and trust in, a Kingdom if you will, inside the kingdoms of men.

From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Father’s Kingdom has always been misunderstood. Religious men, then and now, expected an earthly kingdom to ring in a new earth order and establishment of God’s rule.  The Jews did that back in the beginning; we still do that today.  After all, Israel wanted a king, what they got was a Christ.

For the most part, we’re living just like we want, generally doing as we wish. Oh, we might complain about our lot in life but we do very little to change where we’re at.  Most of the time, we’re not actually experiencing the kind of life that’s just been unpredictably dropped upon us, but more realistically, we’re experiencing the reasonable consequences of our own decisions. Are there really very many surprises here?  Generally the world over, we seldom really ask the question of whether Jesus was who he said he was, did what he said he did.  Is his story just a nice story or does it have the power to affect our lives, affect the world we live in?

I believe much of what we spend our time on is simply us being distracted away from God the Father, a Father who has a desire to gather us. Instead we scurry around in a culture that divides us feb1from Him. The works of anti-Christ masters the trivial with his sleight of hand, preoccupies us, woos us away from asking questions about Christ.  We spend generation after generation on questions that separate us from knowing God. In effect, we strangle on a gnat, missing the larger issue.  For example, right now, in this country and by much of the world’s standards, our big problem is what restroom to use, the men’s or women’s.  Seems we’re to buy into the idea that whether we are a man or a woman is determined by what’s between our ears!  We spend hours defending something that in all reality needs no defense.  Those kind of silly suggestions destroy our intellect, waste our time.  Is there any real argument there!  I remember a statement by the late Bill Gillham in his book Lifetime Guarantee, ‘Setting in a garage doesn’t make you a car.’  Raising those kinds of issues (and there are thousands more) takes time out of the time we should be learning about Him and converts our days to talking about the irrational.  Lifestyles promoted by a heartless and selfish powerful elite, elites promoting ‘Wisdomless’ (Godless) thoughts.  Unfortunately, that morphs until culture accepts the unbelievable as the preferred.  Life, as the Father would have it for us, is no longer precious. That’s inferior living!  The world’s motive for living is determined solely by the power of the wealthy, powerful and amoral.  We take instruction from Hollywood as though those folks have a corner on intellect.  The world today looks more like Germany of 1941 than the America founded on Christian principles over just 200 years ago.

Inferior living is about doing it our way, about asking the wrong questions and getting the wrong answers.  Inferior living is about throwing out the Wisdom of God and idolizing the wisdom of man.  Our cry for ‘progress’ around the world readily embraces the idea of throwing out all the past, when much of what is being thrown away are things that worked for us, made this country different from all the world and got us through some pretty mean and troubled times.

Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons television program, once stated it like this.  ‘…the people who nurtured us and who passed on to us the notions that there was dignity in work, satisfaction in having a job and doing it well, that we can and must be self-reliant and resourceful, that our country’s laws are to be obeyed, that we have a right to practice the religion of our choice, the belief that our parents and grandparents not only deserve respect, but are to be treasured for the rituals and stories and rules of conduct that we all need to know and to pass on to our children if we are to call ourselves civilized…we would be foolish to deny that drugs and crime and scandal have taken their toll on us.  But I believe that there is still more Judeo-Christianity than crime, more virtue than violence, that there is more hope than heroin and more virtue than violence and more good than evil.’

Seems we’ve lost our root-core: Faith in Father-Son-Spirit. Jesus taught of little faith, but he didn’t do so referencing to an amount of Faith large or small.   ‘Little Faith’ was a word Jesus himself (and only used by him) made up out of the language and referred specifically to anxiety, fear, doubt or forgetfulness.  When he said it in Luke’s Gospel, he was referring to the characteristic of those present, referring to the creature they were.  He wasn’t making a statement begging for their improvement but stating a fact about the kind of nature they had and we have; we’re creatures of little faith!  Creatures easily persuaded away from the Wisdom of God.

The good news is the Father’s Kingdom (simply any place that He is present) has been set before us to trust, given for us to step into and rest our hearts.  That Kingdom came when the Christ came.  Jesus taught of a time when man’s solutions would sound good, they would even give the appearance of Wisdom by embracing compassionate language, but their hearts would be far from God.

Feb2It’s always been True, just hard for us to get into our heads, that chariots and horses (man’s solutions) are not and were never intended to be trusted. (Isaiah 31:1, Psalm 20:7)  Christ established Truth and contrasted it with a counterfeit life, an inferior life.  Counterfeits resemble and persuade away from Truth but they cannot correctly interpret Truth.  Has God not spoken?  Has He not, in His Wisdom, given a caution about a way that seems right to men but the end is calamity!  That Kingdom is not one that’s necessarily observed in the political tapestry of the world’s cultures.  It’s not a Kingdom that can be measured by what we have, what we wear, what we do, but one that is evidenced by Grace and Peace in the Spirit of God.  We need no Savior if we, the creature, can make this work in our own efforts alone.  Christ builds His church and builds it right in the middle of the rubble of the wasteland of the culture’s best efforts.

Inferior living is living in opposition to the Kingdom that Jesus shares with us. He had a simple formula for seeing the Kingdom of God (it’s not meat nor drink, but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Spirit of God…Romans 14:17).  Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and everything else will be added. (Matthew 6:33)  Seek the Kingdom of His Peace and Joy and all things will come into purpose.  Jesus has placed a Kingdom within a kingdom, ours is to discern which to distribute into our daily lives.   Inferior living leaves us where we are, stepping into His circle of belief moves us into the very Kingdom of God.  His Kingdom, living His way, prepares for us a place of Rest in the shadow of the Most High in the middle of the world’s desert.

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