The Green Grass, the still Water…

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His 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 the house of the LORD
Forever.
Psalm 23

For I am a sheep led by a Master. He knows me and watches me by day and by night. I am absent of wit and am best at following others. Thus is the analogy of the world we live in. There is no guidance, only blind leading of relative wisdom dying and wavering. There is yearning in the world….

However, there is not want in the full hearts of the godly.  For we are replenished daily and led to greener places where we will not live among the stagnate. This is His will, His word. This is our life in Christ. I trudged in worldly wisdom, Existential and lost. Firing glances at the heavens on dark nights to seek the face of a god, even as God watched and tugged at my heart. “You will see my face some day”,  He said. I wouldn’t have believed then that which is so undeniable now. For I am a sheep and I am led by a caring Shepard. I will think but but thinking is bridled with God’s discernment and I am fed the delivering meal of wisdom each day. With each bite, I turn to Him that feeds with confidence.

In God I find my peace in a fresh solitude. The water is still. It is deep and dark – we do not know its depths though we know its still peace. The water of knowledge, the water of clarity, and the water of peace. I lay beside this water on the green grass of Spring, renewal, fit for a child of God for respite from the world and renewal of my heart. This restores me and as the grass sips the clear morning dew, I sip the water of His peace and wisdom.  All is well in the peace of His domain. All is restored daily. The world rushes by unnoticed, unheeded.  I am absorbed in the Father. We are offered a tangent between God and Man, He is life in the valley of death: He is Jesus. The scornful world denies His call. But not I who grieve for them yet am uncontrollably drawn to them with compassion. His restoration fills me with desire to plant a quiet restorative seed in a world rushing by, the green grass blankets the ground. I am at peace.

I am a sheep and He is my Shepard. I a man filled with His righteousness through grace and own a passionate desire to see His image in me. It is all I want. It is because He is God and for His sake I desire. Passion abounds from Him, for Him, to others. My cup runneth over.

But yea, I know the world is death and the world is around me. Surrounding and sometimes stifling. I walk through it each day and each day I still find my green grass and still water. The world is death and His restoration is life. There is respite. There is peace.  My own surrender of my earthly vessel does not haunt me because I long ago died for Him. I only look to the day when I see the world from the perspective of heaven in perfect righteousness. All the Shepard’s plan for His sheep. I fear nothing for nothing can harm that which is in the arms of our Creator.

Your power and strength strike fear in the world and beg reverence from I, your good and faithful servant. I strive toward You in that thought.

You are with me, O Lord, O Father. In your restoration is the anointing oil. The same that was dripped on Aaron, Your priest. The sanctifying oil of holiness.  The empty vessel that I am is filled until it runs over, spilling forth onto the vile and wicked. They secretly covet what they see. I sit in plenitude on the table you have set before me. The world is confused. Most do not know-some wonder-some marvel. But surely life runs out of me as I am filled with love and I emanate a joy and a light. You fill me beyond what I need to be satisfied. I am happy on the green grass near the still water with You at my side.

All that follows me is goodness. It is the peace of the still water, the refreshing green grass. The Master and the man, together in peace and I will never fear evil but shall dwell always with You, Lord. Your house is my desire, Your face is what I want to see, The path of righteousness is my walk.

 And I sit in peace in the valley that is my respite until the day I dwell with You, O Lord of Peace.

copyright 2013 Rick Stassi

originally written 12/29/2011

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Judgement Corrupting Love

Phillip Anthony

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5

There is a time that God has appointed that will be utilized for judgement upon our hearts. It is in this appointed time that it is reserved for the Lord, and I surmise, in a personal place with Him. This is the time the Lord will make and He only knows. So, we place our corruptible thoughts outside – burned and ashes blown away. We have a purpose of conveyors of truth and light, and love. Not in unscrupulous judgement at the folly of corruption. Judgement corrupts our love. It corrupts our yearning to give grace to those in our midst-place before us just so we can test our trust and act in God’s will.

We have a problem. In our nature, we lower our guard and the enemy will steal our desire to do God’s work. We replace conveying grace with thoughts of disdain toward another. Many times it is only outward appearance that forms our opinion. Resist this ploy of the enemy. Jesus will return, He will expose their hearts fully, and it will be God that praises and says “Well done, good and faithful servant”. Our goal.

Do not confuse judgement with discernment. If we discern through the Lord’s tugging at our heart, that someone is of questionable character. Seek refuge as it may affect our well-being. This is judging a situation not the inner character of a person. Your deeper relationship with God will lend clarity to these time. You will have compassion, but you will not blindly walk into danger.

The counsels of our heart is “purpose” as translated from Greek or “guarded thoughts” as defined in the dictionary. Both ways describe an intent in our heart. Much our intentions and thoughts are hidden deep in the darkness of our heart. We seek the light of God to expose these places, but we understand it is a lifelong journey with God molding our character and  perfecting our heart.

Therefore, understand the role we have and God’s role. We are commissioned to love, we are bound in grace and give grace to others. Scripture says:

9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ,..” Phi 1:9,10

God will praise each of us according to the counsels or intentions in our heart. We shall not intervene in His plan by judging first and foremost. It is because we cannot see a person’s heart. We cannot, at various levels, see our own. So, we can’t pretend to know another’s. We do know we have God’s grace and therefore can give freely that which we have in abundance: grace and love. The next time you see someone, first discern danger but do not judge a heart being saved for God to expose personally and out of our earshot and sight of all. That is His way and we busy ourselves in His commanded purpose for us of loving  and being compassionate. This we know. Let God expose our hearts. We in turn, shall lift hearts to Him in compassion and love that we covet. We pray we will not corrupt it with judgement.

Rick Stassi

December 28, 2011

Judge not ourselves

David Hayward

1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.In fact, I do not even judge myself.
4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 1Corinthians 4:1-4 (NKJV)

Paul is accountable as a servant of God and a steward of His word. He is not higher than a servant but is great in his provided role through Jesus Christ to serve and know God.

Who truly knows the mysteries of the Lord?

“Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God” Mark 4:11

Therefore, it is the apostles who know the mysteries of God because it is God who gives them this knowledge. Owners of this knowledge is not qualification to be master or followed as if higher than man. Paul is a man who is an Apostle. He is a servant and a steward.

He is accountable for his faithfulness for in his calling of wisdom and preaching, he must be faithful to the Lord who promises. It is a small thing that he is judged by man or even himself. For God is his judge. He may think himself in God’s favor, but his thoughts are not what saves him. It is the Lord who justifies.

Those who minister, see God’s work about them. They see an effect that they have verbally or prayerfully caused. But, by all means it is God who is in control. We acknowledge the Spirit will guide us to the ends but we also acknowledge the source is God. Credit for spiritual lifting, change ,and blessing is all from this:

God has highest grace and has cast it upon us. Jesus paid the highest price for our salvation.   Servants who are knowing  and seeking ministers, convey this message. The Apostles, convey His mystery.

So, in our minds we are joyful at God’s revealed release of burden, dispersing of joy, and grace-filled salvation. But, we credit and marvel always at the Author of Life. Our Lord. Breathe in His spirit and bask in His love. Praise Him for raising men to reveal God by appointment. Do not judge and do not especially judge yourself or elevate yourself. It is God who will. We seek and listen and our path is made certain and straight in Him. With love and prayer. Amen

Rick Stassi

December 24, 2011

Be not deceived, the Lord is Wisdom.

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;
20 and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.
23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. 1 Corinthians 3:18-23


We are learners and hearers of God will and word. We are wary of deception.

We are in great danger of deceiving ourselves when we have too high an opinion of human wisdom and arts; plain and pure Christianity will be likely to be despised by those who can suit their doctrines to the corrupt taste of their hearers, and set them off with fine language, or support them with a show of deep and strong reasoning. Matthew Henry

For we should never believe that our wisdom is foremost and forthright without first seeking God and receiving His confirmation through His word. There are those who pose reason and logic of the world. Be wary of the one who claims rationality, for he is foolish lest his wisdom come from God. The world molds reason to fit a worldview that is convenient to the tastes of tolerance, coexistence, and self-awareness through self-wisdom. All is deception. Know God is the source of all wisdom.

Becoming a fool would mean to be humble and see what we speak-hear what comes out of our mouth. We should prepare our hearts so we will emit not idle talk but the image and speech crafted by God. Be ready to learn from God. The extraction of Scripture Paul uses to the Corinthians is from Job 5 and Psalm 94. Rejuvenate and read these chapters. All is for our positive fortification in God’s wisdom.

Man has always disbelieved that it is possible for there to be a Creator that is capable of making the Universe, holding it in His hand, and still loving us. It is against worldly wisdom. But, we know that when we have the infiltration of the Spirit, we are immersed in a new wisdom that stands above conventional wisdom. Man’s thought is fruitless without God. There will be consensus of common moral ground, but soon we will see that the commonality becomes relative. Each man will have a slightly different worldview. In God it is Absolute. We who are set apart, sanctified, grasp hands and look upward to see God and love Him in one accord, we look to each other and love one another in one accord, and we look inward to see the abiding Spirit who loves us and provides power in us daily in God’s way.

Therefore, be not deceived by eloquence and articulate speech. Man will be forceful and try to dominate with his knowledge. We plant a quiet seed of Hope and Love and walk away. Love will confound as will our perseverance in Him.

We are Christ’s. We are God’s. We were purchased by His blood. Be quiet, pray, read the Bible. Wisdom rushes into your soul like the Living water flowing separating us in the wilderness from the Promised eternity in heaven.

Rick Stassi

December 22, 2011

Instructions for Life: Psalm 112

1 Praise the LORD!
  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
 Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.
4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 112 (NKJV)

So I ask myself: what kind of man am I? How am I to live my life? In my walk in the Lord, He will show me the model for a man in His image. It is all I desire. God tells me now how to live my life. His instruction is crystal clear.

Birth of Understanding

v1. I fear the Lord, I have reverence in He who is so much larger than life. His promise is I will be blessed in my reverence and delighting in His commandments: Love God, Love everyone in all aspects of who they may be. Jesus did not say love with a discretionary love, He said love. I shall and I receive a smile on my face because this is God’s will and I live it and feel it.

Understanding our Legacy

v2. I raise my children to love Him, to be exposed to Him, to begin to learn how to seek Him. Pray with your children as one body seeking Him together. Your authority is paramount in rearing them, but God’s authority is all-encompassing. Love and pray with your children for they are a new generation to praise God. They will do the same to their children. Our legacy of the upright! Upright, or “strong moral rectitude”, is our path forward, generational. We can be the foundation for our children and their children by example in how we demonstrate our relationship with God. With respect. With praise. Bearing acknowledgment to He who blesses.

Understanding Eternal Treasure

v3. Wealth and riches come in the form of wisdom and anointing in the oil of the Spirit. Material wealth fades, but His love and righteousness endure forever. Forever believe this of God. We are rich and wealthy in the things we store eternally. Hold Him in your heart. Make this your prayer now. God is eternal yet He is personal. He knows our name. Look at the greater picture. See through the eyes of eternity. We are encouraged in our pilgrimage on earth, we understand our true wealth is strictly in the Lord.

Shining without Obstruction

v4. We emanate light: His light. As we walk in His Light, we stumble less because as know Him more. As He reveals Himself, our light within emits to brighten our path and show others the Spirit that will overcome their worldly spirit. Take refuge in the light for there can be no darkness in the light. We absorb God. We walk in His way and talk in His spirit. Our countenance is in His image. We have no dark place for the Lord sees us always. We have the indwelling Spirit and the Spirit is Light, we are the character of He who abides in us. Shine without obstruction.

Godly Integrity

v5. The instruction in verse 5 lends itself to our integrity. We have the integrity of a godly person as we have walked in His way and learned a graceful spirit and merciful demeanor. Integrity is self-awareness of personal speech and action. We carry ourselves in His way. We are on His stage and act in His will. It is good because godly character and integrity are great desires. We cannot be exact. We can be aware of the completing process.

A Steadfast Heart

v6. I cannot be shaken. The person of divine integrity will leave their mark in this world. Our personal legacy is through our generations. Our generations base their godly spirit on the Lord through the character we have set. John established this in His letters. He uses experience in the Lord to project character onto the future hearers of the Lord from those who have trod close to Him. We have unshaken godly integrity. We are treading close with God – we are remembered for this above all else.

Understand the World

v7. News of evil, or news of the world does not shake us. We know the integrity of the world and our reaction in compassion to a fading flower. Once beautiful but at season’s end, fades and withers. That too is the character of man. We should not be surprise of what the spirit of man is incapable of from the perspective of our godly spirit. Remember that thought. Man is fallen and separated until he reconciles with Jesus.

Our hearts are steadfast in God. We have a heart dependent on the Lord and not man. Therefore, the nature of our heart is of God not of man. Steadfast in His way means we do not waver, weaving right and left on a path God lays out for us. It is our desire to walk a straight line and face our obstacles with our steadfast foothold in God.

Seeing Eternity

v8. We cannot ever truly understand our adversarial relationship with the spirit of the world until we sit in our place in heaven. Then the wretched are truly seen, writhing and pursuing all temporary. The sand he grasps falls through his ungodly fingers. The Hebrew concordance defines the phrase He will not be afraid as “We will not truly know the awesomeness of our reverence” until we are in heaven. Just as we will not truly understand perfection except through what God tells us. In heaven we are glorified, perfected, and will know.

Our Influence in our Pilgrimage

v9. Our countenance is dispersed. Our character is widely known. Our influence is felt among many. Our foundation is in all that is precious in the sight and word of God. Our integrity is bounded in Him. We have ministered and our “horn” or our “strength” is exalted in honor. God will reward the just and upright (Psalm 58:11)

The Dilemma of Man

v10. The darkness cannot hide in the light, the atheist cannot deny love, man will recognize a godly spirit but will not understand. He is confounded and gnashes teeth, because eventually there is nothing left to strive for. The heart of man will be forever unsettle and empty. The heart he attempts to fill will keep draining like fine sand through his fingers. It is futile and hopeless. His desire perishes because the sun sets on his hope.

Conclusion 

I truly believe that I can be the image of a perfect God, completing me daily. I give myself grace as He has indeed done. I love, as He has indeed showed. I have compassion, as Jesus truly demonstrated. Let the Word of the Lord adhere to your heart. You will be fortified and strong in His will. It is truly a life of joy. We have it at hand. We must respond to His calling and see beauty in His footprint as we place our step in each of His impressions. We are like children with our Father. Succumb to this child-like persona. We can be wise too but always remember all God’s people need to be held in the loving arms of our Father. So smile and seek Him.

Rick Stassi

December 18, 2011

..where we build

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

1 Corinthians 3:16,17 (NKJV)

Realize, the Rock we build our church upon is Jesus . The epistle is written to a church because the body of Christ needs to be solid in belief, united in fellowship, and willing to serve and love in God’s name upon His will.  We see that the Rock is not Peter, the rock, but is the foundation bedrock Who is Jesus. It is His teaching, wisdom, and Love that provide our strength and fuel our faithfulness. As the Spirit indwells, we are stronger and seated more firm upon Him. We are the temple and though we say we have given our lives to Christ, our sincerity is tested as our faithfulness endures the test of time and trials. The firmer the ground we are built upon the more we can withstand. Seek Him that leads you in building.

The verses come alive as God’s vision is cast upon us. Peter is mighty at delivering God’s message. In his walk with Jesus he stumbled, denied, cowered, and faltered. But, he persevered and after Jesus Ascended into the heavens, Peter was the first to stand and take leadership. It was God’s timing (see Acts 2:14)

The rock delivers the message. The rocks even shout out the name of God. But, the Rock is He whom our temple is built upon . We are the temple that receives the indwelling of the Spirit. We are holy and sanctified in His name. Standing firm upon an unwavering foundation.

So, God protects His children. We who are sincere and have taken the care to build our life on Jesus our Lord. The message is clear. Many claim Jesus, few build there lives upon Him. God instructs in detail. Think about the detail of the first tabernacle, the first priest, the Ark of The Covenant. Seek His word:

18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat.
20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.
21 You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you.
22 And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.
Exodus 25

The verses from Exodus are a sample of His detailed instructions. Our sincerity in our repentance, our submission, and our walk with Jesus is paramount to our salvation. It is the very stone we cast our feet upon – it is strong and unwavering. We are protected because in the seriousness of God’s instruction, it can be derived that He would not bring us down this path in our faithfulness and trust with His promised spirit, to release us to the enemy. The enemy will cower and wane in our path. Only our flesh that is still under the perfection process of the Master, is subject to distraction. God will destroy those in our path that attempt to defile us. Destroy is strong : I would surmise to say that we are safe in what we hold dear in our hearts and have built our life on. It is Jesus-come in the flesh as a baby, born of a virgin in a manger. Seek Him and build your life upon Him.

Rick Stassi

December 16. 2011

…therefore the temple is built upon Jesus, our Rock.

12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.
15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NIV)

All in the world shall perish. The material treasures we place upon our hearts are taking the place of a His holy spirit and leaving that spirit unprotected. For all that we build our life, our church, our relationships upon should be of our heavenly source and not of the world around us. Our church is rooted in Jesus Christ. Our lives are, as well. When Jesus told Peter that the church would be built upon him:

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:18

Peter by name was “Cephas“, which is rock. It can be read that he is the rock Jesus describes as the bedrock. But instead, Peter is a great orator and actions came from within him after Jesus had Ascended. The Rock that the church was built upon was not Peter, but was indeed Jesus who is the Foundation of the church, our lives, and the firm ground below us from where we look up and seek our Master’s voice and face! O glory for God’s grace. Peter was the rock that brought a concise message of Jesus Christ and many were brought to Jesus. Peter is an important conveyor of the Gospel. He persevered toward Christ and was given his place.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 3:6

So then, If we build our lives on a foundation that is not directly touching and upon the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we will know on the Day of Judgement. For all is judged as we meet God and an account of our life is given:

But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. Matthew 12:36

We hold captive the thought of how we build our lives now will have repercussion at our Judgement. We will be exposed at that time; however, be exposed now! That is what these words of God are for. Heavenly instruction is the word of God and all wisdom is held in His word. Ready you heart for the Return and build you house-your life-your church on the Bedrock Who is the Foundation of the very world we walk upon.

Some give their lives to the Lord and are saved. Then they build their temple, we as a vessel with the Spirit indwelling, upon the material. It is written in v. 15 he shall be saved, indeed, but without the riches of a life serving the Lord. There is merit and gratification in serving God. We build our lives on Jesus Christ and the desire to please and serve in inherent – if we obey and listen to heavenly instruction.

Our bodies are a temple of the Lord. We shall build our temple upon Bedrock, Who is Jesus. We may not, but will be saved as we have given our life to Him who, by grace, is Salvation. However, our treasures will be none as all we build up on earth will burn.

Place all of your hopes, dreams and trust in the indestructible Rock. Walk a walk in His image. Then on the Day of your judgement He will say,”Well done” Matthew 25:21  

Rick Stassi

December 14, 2011

…for Dana, my wife and co-Pilgrim in this walk upon solid ground. rs