Dale Cresap's blog

Dale is a Certified CWG Facilitator posting daily devotional blogs of two-way journaling. (What is two-way journaling?) Enjoy and be encouraged!

rewards?

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Do you think there are special blessings for those who tithe? You are right, but there are special blessings for everyone else too. For I make the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust alike. It is in my nature to do so. So what is your motivation for tithing if you don’t get a special reward? Generosity can be your nature too. If you follow my example it becomes a characteristic trait of yours. So shall you be the children of your Father in heaven. Then you will be able to give for the right reasons, and be a cheerful giver. 

by their fruits

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How do you discern your fellow believers? You do not assign people an eternal destiny; that is my job, and I do not subcontract it. Yet for the purpose of fellowship it is helpful to know where people stand. Do you do this on the basis of confession and affirmation? It is easy to judge people leniently if they have the right beliefs. It is easy to judge yourself leniently for your beliefs too. But I have already given you a different criteria. You shall know them by their fruits. You judge those outside your faith by this criteria, and they judge you the same way. What people do is a more reliable indicator of their true nature than what they say. 

Crusades?

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Are you familiar with the crusades? These were wars of aggression by Christian armies. These episodes did not reflect well upon the practice of the faith, and left resentments that  linger to this day. You do not approve of Jihad waged by others, and they felt the same way about the crusades. Now there are no “Christian armies” with armor, artillery, and infantry, but do you still hold the same attitude that motivated the crusades? What is your attitude toward those outside your faith? The Great Commission is to preach the gospel to every creature. You are called to proselytize by persuasion, not force.

life waste?

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Landfills for garbage are a human construct. The concepts of scrap and debris and refuse do not exist in nature, in which there is a use for everything. Waste is a human concept. Which principle do you think applies in my Kingdom? Here we are not talking about material things to throw away or not, but are there aspects of your life that you would gladly part with? You see some parts of yourself as negative and hindrances, but I can use even those things for my redemptive purposes. Joseph told his brothers that what they meant for evil God meant for good. What aspects of your life do you reject that I do not see as waste?

truth or error?

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Are you looking for truth or looking for error? If you accept the premise that if you seek you will find, then what would you expect to be the outcome of these two searches? Evil is present in the world, and you are to avoid it. The best way to do that is not to look for it. The Bereans searched the scriptures daily to see if this new message was true (not false). Do you trust in my goodness and my power to keep you from the evil one? I am able to keep you from falling, and no one will take you out of my hand. Go forth in peace and confidence being as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. 

can you handle the truth?

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Can you handle the truth? Everyone thinks they can, but are they right? I spent several years with my disciples, and then I told them that I had more to teach them, that they could not bear then. Even then they could not handle the truth. Yet I promised to send the Comforter who would lead them into all truth. This same promise applies to you. Even after all the centuries of theological study, are you aware that you need the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth? This applies as much today as it did then. If you walk with a  conscious awareness that the Holy Spirit teaches you then you will be able to handle the truth. 

members of one body

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It is obvious to believer and unbeliever alike that there are a multitude of Christian traditions. As I have one body with many members, so there are many denominations within one body. You have seen the problems that arise from competition and infighting between denominations. Does this mean that you should forsake denominational affiliation? There is no such thing as a generic Christian. It is beneficial for you to be committed and devout within your own calling. Can you do this without being superior, exclusive, and divisive toward your brothers and sisters who are equally committed and devout within their own traditions?

leaving church?

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How do you feel about those who leave your church? Do you accept the assumption that the longer you stay at a particular church the better and that leaving indicates a problem? Do you assume that one church can meet the spiritual needs of its members for their whole lives? Do you see those who leave as traitors and rebels? Do you see my Body as a single entity? Let me encourage you to refrain from judgment in this matter. Accept the fact that the spiritual needs of your fellow believers may change over time, and you cannot keep them against their will. Be glad for the time you spent together, and remain on good terms if you can, for you are still members of one Body.

good manners

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Do you take your kids to restaurants to learn restaurant manners? Why would they need two sets of manners? If they have one good set, it will serve them well in all situations. Moreover, it will serve them well with all people they encounter. But is this the way you really live? Do you show the same dignity, courtesy, and honor to those who serve you as to those who outrank you at work or church or in everyday life? My word cautions you not to shame or despise the poor. It isn’t hard to have one good set of manners. You already know how to show deference to those above you. The hard part is applying that set to everyone. 

relationship?

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Do you understand your faith as a relationship to me? You are correct, and this means it is more than intellectual assent, but the term relationship is so broad that it can be used to describe the relative positions of inanimate objects, and your faith in me is more than this. My word speaks of transformation into my likeness. In my final prayer I asked that we all may be one, and the epistle writer describes my followers as partakers of the divine nature. This is a level of relationship beyond anything else for which you use this term. Are you prepared to look at this relationship as participation in my life?

 

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