Monday, December 31, 2012

Two Resurrections -John 5:29

John 5:29 ESV
and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection.

There are two resurrections mentioned here. We are resurrected with Him when we awake spiritually, reborn as we place our trust in Him. We rise from the dead and enter the kingdom of God. This could be argued to be the resurrection of life and the first resurrection.

In the second resurrection, the dead arise from the grave, the alive and dead alike. Those who have done good (believe and obey God), will rise to eternal life. The rest will face judgement and will account for their deeds. It is the difference of light and darkness, of day and night.

Daniel 12:2-5
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
5 Then I, Daniel, looked, and behold, two others stood, one on this bank of the stream and one on that bank of the stream.

Matthew 25:46
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Acts 24:15
having a hope in God, which these men themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.

Romans 2:6-11
He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well- doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self- seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

Galatians 6:8
For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Everyone Who Believes -1John 5:1-5

1 John 5:1-5 ESV
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

God's love is for everyone, but not everyone loves God. John tells us that loving God is accomplished by believing and obeying Jesus. Responding to God in this way means that one has overcome the world, and is thus born of God. We participate in the victory of Jesus and His reconciliation with a world gone astray. We leave behind its fallen precepts and assumptions and cling to His word. Our faith in God is the key that opens the door to belief. Our belief grows stronger and our faith is confirmed as we walk in His light, experiencing His love and presence. In the end, our sorrows and troubles teach us of His love and grace. Everything works for the good for those that love The Lord. We give witness to the power and effectual working of that love. We can find joy therein.

Galatians 5:6
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

Matthew 22:37-40
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Romans 10:9-11
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

1 Peter 1:22-23
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Ark -Revelation 11:19

Revelation 11:19 ESV
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Just as the ark built by Noah came through the waters and rested on a mountain, so did the ark of the covenant come to rest on the throne of heaven: this is Christ. His body on earth, the church, will carry us through the waters of this life and bring us to the Father.

Within the ark is the bread of life, the staff of a shepherd that buds with that life, and the commands of God that are now written in the hearts of all who worship theFather.

The shadow of things to come will fade away in the presence of His light.

Hebrews 9:4-5
having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Psalms 18:12-15
Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
and the Most High uttered his voice,
hailstones and coals of fire.
And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

Ezekiel 38:22-23
With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Exodus 25:21-22
And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

Jeremiah 3:15-17
“‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Lord Knows How -2Peter 2:5-10

2 Peter 2:5-10 ESV
if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

The seven others accompanying Noah could remind us of the complete and perfect number of those that will place their faith in God and enter into the body of Christ. They will ride above the waters of the flood to come. Revelation speaks of the flood that spews from the mouth of Satan. God seals His own with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He will deliver us upon the dry land of a new creation.

Noah built the ark openly among the people and warned of the impending disaster. Only laughter and ridicule was returned as life went on around him. He was not dismayed or diverted in his belief of the word of God. He continued in faith and found his reward.

Job 22:15-16
Will you keep to the old way
that wicked men have trod?
16 They were snatched away before their time;
their foundation was washed away.

Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Jude 1:7
just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

Psalms 32:6-7
Therefore let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

Proverbs 16:4-6
The Lord has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

She Did Not Return -Genesis 8:6-12

Genesis 8:6-12 ESV
At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7 and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.

Noah first sends forth a raven, an unclean bird which goes to and fro until the waters dry. The raven has been associated with death and lost souls by various cultures according to Wikepedia. In Job, the devil tells God that he has been going to and fro on the earth. The raven is known for its cunning and intelligence. The snake in the Garden was crafty above other animals. These things together might cause one to see in this story some insight on the two forces at play in this world, and the choice before us. The raven is released by God to fly until the waters dry up. In Revelation, the sea is no more and the new creation has replaced  the old. The spirit of rebellion and death that is the kingdom of the prince of the air, of this world can be represented by this bird.
While the raven is in the air, Noah releases a dove three times. On the third release, the dove does not return. We might be reminded that the Holy Spirit first hovered above the waters of the deep before earth was formed. The second time the dove returns with an olive leaf. This could represent the Spirit active on earth as He begins to work on the purpose and revelation of God. There are two olive trees, one on both sides of the temple door in heaven that point to the two witnesses that will prophesy at the end. After the third and last release, the dove does not return. Remember the Holy Spirit is likened to a dove that descends on Jesus at His baptism and remains.

As Moses called on God to part the sea to escape the armies of Pharaoh, Jesus will deliver us to to the dry land of the new creation. He will keep us safe for we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of our redemption. Earth will be completed and assume its true form. The bride of Christ will descend and God will dwell with man, and there shall be no end.

Exodus 14:21-22
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Revelation 21:1-2
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We Have Fellowship -1John 1:5-10

1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Fellowship with Jesus enables fellowship with each other. It is in His light we can see Him, ourselves, and each other. Stepping from the shadows, we enter into the fellowship of the one Spirit. Though we are sinners, we are cleansed by His word, the word spoken and present in those who call on His name.

We are sinners by nature, but He transforms us into the supernatural by His power. He calls us to a kingdom life beyond nature that brings us into the dwelling place of God. This is accomplished, not by our immediate physical removal and transfer into heaven, but by His mysterious choice to enter our world through His indwelling. First in the incarnation in the man that was Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. Then incarnated in the church, which is the body of Christ. We give witness and continuation of His presence. When He comes again, He will arise and descend as the body of believers join together with new bodies of their own, fulfilling and completing the intent of God the Father, joining Him in the glory of eternity in His house of fellowship.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

John 8:12
12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Job 33:27-28
He sings before men and says:
‘I sinned and perverted what was right,
and it was not repaid to me.
28 He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit,
and my life shall look upon the light. ’

Psalms 32:5
I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

3 John 1:3-4
For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sing Alleluia

On this day a child is born
Sing Alleluia
Sent from the Father up above
Sing Alleluia

Hear the angels as they sing
Hosanna in the highest
Upon every mountain voices ring
Sing Alleluia
Sing Alleluia

Monday, December 24, 2012

Overshadow -Luke 1:35-37

Luke 1:35-37 ESV
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”

He overshadows us all, bringing us out of the shadow of death. We share in birth of Christ, for we join Him in our rebirth. From that shadow we rise to the pure light of the morning star. For those who walk with Him, a new and eternal day has begun, the first and last day for its light will never diminish or give way to darkness evermore.

Just as the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters of a chaotic world, the Spirit hovers over each one of us to bring us into the light of life. A new creature is born. A child is born within us. The kingdom of God grows. Order and peace continue to shape the creation until at last it will be made new. So it is with each one of us. We grow into the likeness of Christ and of our Father above.

Nothing is impossible with God and He is with us.

Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

John 1:34
And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Genesis 18:14
Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Matthew 19:25-26
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

And Then He Adds

Hebrews 10:14-17 ESV
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Those who are being sanctified are already perfected in Christ.

Sanctification takes place as the word dwells within the heart and as we dwell in the word.

Spirit and mind provide a home to us in a tent pitched in the wilderness of a fallen creation. The pattern established in the desert long ago speaks to us of the reality of God's kingdom today and the unfolding plan which will find its end in eternal perfection.

The promise and working of His grace is demonstrated in verse 17. Not only do we have the astounding gift of forgiveness, but God erases all unrighteousness for those who believe. All dross has been removed by the fire of His word, and we emerge as sons and daughters of our Holy Father. He adds life to life and grace to grace.

Romans 11:27
And this is my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”

Jeremiah 31:33
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Through The Water -1Peter 3:18-22

1 Peter 3:18-22 ESV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The flood of Genesis points to another cleansing of the earth of the ungodly.. Instead of flood waters sweeping the earth, it is the blood of Christ poured out that deals with the wicked. Instead of an ark of wood, it is the body of Christ which is our vessel of rescue. He will protect and safely deliver us into the promised land of the new creation.

Baptism was foreshadowed in the flood and it signifies our identification and faith in The Lord. Peter characterizes it as an appeal to God and it is a response and trust in His grace and mercy. In both cases the earth is renewed. Faith serves as the means for both.

The spirits in prison are the ones constrained in the bonds of death. Many have discarded the earthly body and many still reside in mortal frames. Water serves as a metaphor for people and life. God brings us into and through the waters that we might find our way to His house. He has again warned us of the upcoming flood of wrath, and once again many scoff and ignore that warning and offer of salvation. God's patience will one day end.

Having found the way, we eagerly wait.

Hebrews 9:28
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Genesis 6:5-8
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Romans 6:3-4
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

2 Peter 2:5-10
if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Substance -Colossians 2:16-20

Colossians 2:16-20 ESV
16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—

The substance that we hold and makes our footing secure is Christ. He is the root and cause of all creation, and is the word of salvation for everyone. Not all would agree, but this does not take away from the fact it is true. Many will say there are other ways to God, or that there is no God. One can take this stand if one is unfamiliar with the Bible, or chooses to ignore what it tells us. Part of the endurance of the saints is holding on to the word of God, despite smooth and beguiling words to the contrary. The way of man and the way of God are not the same.
It's all too easy to find forbidden fruit in your hand. It's all to easy to listen to deceptive mouths, especially when one is hearing those words spoken in his own voice.

Hebrews 8:5-6
They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.

Hebrews 10:1
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.

Genesis 3:13
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

1 Corinthians 9:24
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Ephesians 4:15-16
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Manifested Power

"A blind man cannot see the sun, but he knows that it is above the earth from the warmth it affords; similarly , let those who are still in the blindness of unbelief recognize the Godhead of Christ and the resurrection which He has brought about through His manifested power in others."
"On The Incarnation", St. Athanasis.

May His warmth and light be felt by others as we share His presence in our life, that His saving and life giving power flows freely to and through us.

To The Pure -Titus 1:15-16

Titus 1:15-16 ESV
To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Our perspective determines how we see, of how we are able to see. A heart aligned and in agreement with God will see a different world, changing as we grow closer to His heart. As we are transformed and renewed into the mind of Jesus, we leave behind a way of life that only led to death. Instead we embark into a life that leads to life.
This agreement with God is not made with words alone. Our lives must reflect the infusion, the receiving of His word. We must speak the words of assent with our lips and with our deeds, with no distance or confusion between the two.

Romans 14:20-23
Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

1 John 2:4-6
Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Romans 14:14
I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

1 Corinthians 6:12
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

James 3:14-18
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

1 Timothy 4:4-5
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Dead Will Hear -John 5:25-28

John 5:25-28 ESV
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice

Hearing or listening can be a hard thing to accomplish. We can all attest to this fact from personal experience, whether we were trying to be understood or missed the point of someone else.

With all the noise around us in today's world, trying to make sense of what we hear and discerning what is true can be difficult, though that appears to have always been the case. Our own beliefs and experience can pose a barrier to the realities around us. Even the words of life can appear as foolishness to the heart not sensitive to the Spirit of God. It is through the power and will of God that it is even possible. He seeks us and calls to us. We, though dead, are able to awake to life beyond what we can imagine.

We all were in tombs before He came. He calls us all to rise and leave the darkness behind, to enter the light of the bright morning star. He leads us to green pasture and still water. His voice guides us to the Father and beckons us home.

John 8:45-47
But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

John 9:27
He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

John 8:43
Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.

Acts 10:42-43
And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

John 6:60-61
60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this?

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Press On -Philippians 3:12-16

Philippians 3:12-16 ESV
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

We are on our way, between here and there, as we move forward in time and space. Where we've been is not where we are. Where we are is not where we're going to be. Paul tells us to keep our eyes on Jesus as we follow his lead, to keep our focus on who we are and are going to be.

He indicates our journey is not complete. Jesus has made us His own and works powerfully within us to enable our walk, our race, to stand in the presence of God. We have been given a promise and seal which has opened the door of the kingdom of God. We are able to call Him Father as we wait for the second resurrection, that of our bodies. In the first resurrection, our spirit is raised with the Son and unites with the Holy Spirit into a new creation. When He comes again we will be made perfect, if we hold to what we have obtained.

1 Thessalonians 2:12
we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Ephesians 1:17-18
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

Luke 9:62
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Revelation 2:25
Only hold fast what you have until I come.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

We Are One -Ephesians 4:1-8

Ephesians 4:1-8 ESV
1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”

Grace is a one on one proposition. Each one of us receives the one Spirit. There is but one God. There is one you. It is on that basis we stand before Him.

If your church has a different name than the one down the street and you view others as different, it might be said to be a derivative of the body of Christ. Something has been added and something has been lost. The true church consists of those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. This is the temple of the Lord. The Spirit could be in your church or another, or both. Regardless of how we might differentiate ourselves, there remains but one name by whom salvation comes. We are one.

One is used seven times in this passage. This could allude to the perfection that is God. The perfection of His plan and provision is emphasized.

Philippians 1:27-28
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, 28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.

1 Timothy 2:1-6
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Romans 15:1-4
1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

All Judgment -John 5:22-24

John 5:22-24 ESV
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John tells us that all judgement is given to the Son. God does this out of love. His justice and perfection would otherwise require the penalty of death for all marked with the stain of sin. His Son washes away that stain with the cleansing power of His own blood. We are blessed through His sacrifice and intervention. His mercy is made new everyday.

We are told that we are already judged by the word or law, and found wanting. We have everyone fallen short and our situation hopeless, except for the offer of grace that opens the door to life. The judgement of wrath has already taken place. Disobedience ensured that this is the case. The judgement of life remains. The offer has been made. The choice is ours.

Acts 17:30-32
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.”

1 John 2:23-25
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us — eternal life.

1 John 3:14-15
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

If Indeed You Continue -Colossians 1:21-23

Colossians 1:21-23 ESV
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Our hope may wax and wane, our spirits grow weak or strong, and at times we may mourn and sing for joy at others, but if we persevere in our faith and trust in Jesus, we will claim our inheritance as sons and daughters of our Father.

In numerous passages we encounter the word, "if". This is a translation of the Greek word,

ει a contingency marker – 1. used to set the stage for consideration of an event or course of action, with aspects of contingency nuanced by use of various moods and tenses, thus eliciting the rendering if for prefatory ει – (CEGL)

Salvation has always rested on obedience to God. Obedience has always rested on choice. From Genesis to Revelation, this has been the core requirement and dynamic in our relationship with God. Believing and obedience has never been a static, or one-time thing. It has always been an ongoing and living conversation of life, the abiding. It is through His mercy and forgiveness that we are able, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:18-21
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

John 15:9-10
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

Galatians 5:7
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

Galatians 6:9-10
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Hebrews 3:6
but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This Tent-2 Corinthians 5:1-4

2 Corinthians 5:1-4 ESV
1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

Our earthly, mortal body will be raised in its heavenly, immortal form. This what the resurrected Jesus has prepared for us. Death is swallowed by life and we will share in that resurrection of Jesus, for we have replaced and become the body of Christ. We will rise as surely as He has risen.

Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Likewise -John 5:19-21

John 5:19-21 ESV
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

Father and Son do the same thing, for they are one in the mystery of the Trinity. The Greek word ομοιωσ [ομοιοσ] adv. likewise, in similar manner, (CGEL) is used here to convey the accord between Father and Son. We are told that Jesus is the image and glory of God. This applies in respect to His being and action. He could only do and say the things of God because He was God.

John tells us that the Word was with God and was God. Isaiah speaks of a child to be born that will be called Wonderful and Mighty God.

They both give light and life to the world. In the beginning, God said, "Let there be light!", and it was so. He spoke again in giving His Son to the world in love, and the Word became the light of the world. In Him is life.

Colossians 1:16-20
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

2 Peter 1:17-18
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

Acts 13:33-34
this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you. ’
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David. ’

Monday, December 10, 2012

Equal With God -John 5:18

John 5:18 ESV
18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

As zealous as these Jews were for God, they were not ready for an encounter with God. Jesus was different than their expectation. The Messiah they sought was quite unlike the man that stood in front of them. Though Jesus was the perfect image of God, they only saw the face of an imposter and a blasphemer.

Jesus tells us that God is our Father as well. He teaches us to pray as He did, calling out to our Father in heaven, for we have become brothers and sisters of Christ. We have entered the house of the living God. He has entered our hearts, creating a new temple and residence.

We do not count ourselves equal to God, but children of God. It is love reaching out and love that answers.

John 19:7
The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

Philippians 2:5-8
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Revelation 21:22-23
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 22:1-2
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 22:69-70
But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.”

John 8:42-43
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.

John 17:10-11
All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Many Lamps -Acts 20:7-8

Acts 20:7-8 ESV
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered.

Why are we told about many lamps in the room? It may be they represented the people listening to Paul that would be part of the light of the world. Paul was bringing the light and they were ready and eager. Their purpose was to receive and bear that light, and to shine forth in a dark place. God saw this from the beginning. There were many lamps.

Acts 20:26-30
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

Paul emphasizes that he delivered the gospel in its entirety. He did not mince words or deliver only the part he liked or his audience liked. He delivered the message of God as he received it from the Holy Spirit. He knew that others would come after he left that would deliver a different gospel for selfish motives or out of ignorance. Blessed be to God their words are not preserved in Scripture.

There will come a time when the wolf and lamb will live peaceably, side by side.

Isaiah 11:6
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:9
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Many write their own books and formulate their own gospel. All will be revealed as each one gives an account before our Lord. The Lord will judge, and He is merciful and just. It is upon that mercy I stand and place my hope.

Isaiah 46:10-11
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

Jeremiah 23:22
But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6
1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus 'sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:18-19
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holy And Acceptable -Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1-2 ESV
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Our bodies are part of Spiritual worship. The flesh serves a purpose and is the seed of immortality. Just as it falls into the earth, it will be raised into the kingdom of God when nourished by the Spirit. When they are given to God, they become holy and acceptable to Him. He has given of His Spirit that we might continue in a work He has begun and that He makes possible with the seal of His presence. Our work involves staying close to that refining fire, and in doing so we are transformed.

Hosea 14:2-3
Take with you words
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Hebrews 13:15-16
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

1 Peter 2:5-7
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Working -John 5:16-17

John 5:16-17 ESV
And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

God the Father continues to work and be involved in creation. He has not set things in motion and waits to see how things will unfold as some suppose. One example of this is the sending of His Son and the subsequent pouring out of the Spirit. God is working and Jesus has entered that work in the flesh. In their unique persons they are the one God. The Spirit is in the world today, building and strengthening the church body until it is taken away.

Jesus said, "It is finished!" on the cross, but the story continues. The creation story spans seven days, but a new creation awaits. The sevenfold end story in Revelation will usher in God's rest with humanity. When the last person that turns to The Lord enters fully into the new creation, with an immortal body and with all eternity to explore the wonders and joy that God has in store for us, then it will done and complete.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Who Thinks Himself Better

He who thinks himself better than his brother is not seeing the two in God's eyes, and is thinking his own thoughts. A man who seeks his will over another does not seek the will of God, but serves himself.

Monday, December 3, 2012

He Took Up His Bed And Walked -John 5:1-9

John 5:1-9 ESV
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty- eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath.

The feast of the Jews is Passover, to celebrate the freeing of the Israelites from Egypt. The blood on the door frames toward off death symbolized the blood of Jesus that would soon be spilled on behalf of the world.

Bethesda means house of mercy. Jesus later would say His sheep would know His voice. Here were a multitude of invalids, in a state of unease with blindness , sickness, or being crippled with one malady or another. They have been waiting for healing, just as Israel had been waiting for the Messiah. Both would be answered in the coming of this man.

Jesus singles out a man who had lain sick for 38 years, about the same length of time the Israelites journeyed in the desert before reaching the promised land, and He asks what seems to be an odd question. “Do you want to be healed?”

The man's answer indicates yes. It also reveals that he is unable to help himself and needs help to find healing. Because of this answer, Jesus heals the man. He was ready. Our patience can be in short supply and our longing intense, but He will come.

By no coincidence does this healing take place on the Sabbath, the day of rest. Jesus has brought God's rest with Him, the healing and forgiveness of God's grace.

βηθεσδα, η [Aram. ‘house of mercy’; cp. next] indecl. Bethesda J 5: 2 v. l. for βηθζαθα.
βηθζαθα, η [Aram. ‘house of olive (oil) ’] indecl. Bethzatha, name of a pool in Jerusalem J 5: 2. Cp. prec. entry. CGEL

Deuteronomy 16:1
1 “Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.

Zechariah 11:17
“Woe to my worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
Let his arm be wholly withered,
his right eye utterly blinded!”

Proverbs 8:34-36
Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
all who hate me love death.”

Romans 8:26-29
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

James 5:7-8
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Psalms 142:4-5
Look to the right and see:
there is none who takes notice of me;
no refuge remains to me;
no one cares for my soul.
5 I cry to you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living."

2 Corinthians 1:8-9
For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Comfort My People -Isaiah 40:1-2

Isaiah 40:1-2 LXX
παρακαλειτε παρακαλειτε τον λαον μου λεγει ο θεοσ 2 ιερεισ λαλησατε εισ την καρδιαν ιερουσαλημ παρακαλεσατε αυτην οτι επλησθη η ταπεινωσισ αυτησ λελυται αυτησ η αμαρτια οτι εδεξατο εκ χειροσ κυριου διπλα τα αμαρτηματα αυτησ

Isaiah 40:1-2 ESV
1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord's hand
double for all her sins.

Isaiah speaks of the time when Israel no longer suffers from their punishment from the hand of God. The Hebrew word that is translated here as "warfare" refers to their sad relationship to God the Father, one of enemies and hostility. The Septuagint uses the Greek word ταπεινωσισ, which carries the meaning of rejection and humiliation. She lost her favored status before the Lord. Both expressions are the opposite of giving glory to God.

The word for "comfort" appears twice. Israel had received double for her sins, but now God tells His people that the time will come when the punishment is done. It may remind us of when Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times after Peter's denial of Jesus. It brings closure to the act. The Greek word παρακαλειτε represents a call for Israel to come back to God, to come along side the Father for comfort and peace. The hand that delivered punishment would now shelter and tend to them.

The Septuagint adds the word καρδιαν, or heart, with the word Jerusalem. Though His Spirit has departed from the temple, God's heart remains in that city. Jesus would weep at the gates of Jerusalem before entering the city. He would sacrifice Himself to make a heart able to house the Holy Spirit, His new dwelling place, the New Jerusalem.

παρακαλεω [παρα, καλεω] – 1. ‘call to be at one’s side’
2. ‘hearten in time of trouble’, comfort, console

ταπεινωσισ, εωσ, η [ταπεινοω] – 1. ‘experience of reversal from higher to lower level’, humiliation Ac 8: 33; Js 1: 10. – 2. ‘condition of being of little or no account’ – a. low status. CEGL

Psalms 85:8-9
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints;
but let them not turn back to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Zephaniah 3:18-20
I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,
so that you will no longer suffer reproach.
19 Behold, at that time I will deal
with all your oppressors.
And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you in,
at the time when I gather you together;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 66:13-16
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.
Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord
15 “For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Man Believed -John 4:46-54

John 4:46-54 ESV
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

There are various stages of belief and it changes with our experience. This account of the official speaks to that common element in our lives. Our experience informs our thinking, at times confirming and at other times disproving our suppositions. We are sometimes exposed to new ways of thinking. It is a work in progress at best.

This man believed enough to seek Jesus out, to leave his dying son in a desperate attempt to save him. When Jesus told him his son would live, we are told "The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way." The official had to be going home with a higher level of belief and trust in Jesus than was present than when he first sought help. He met Jesus and heard His word. From this personal encounter came a peace and healing that can only come from Jesus.

On his journey home, he learns that his son is recovering and confirms his trust in The Lord. His belief in Jesus is made even stronger as he hears then see for himself that his son lives.

Our story is similar. We grapple with various struggles and issues which can open our eyes and lives to Jesus, and which reinforce and confirm our trust in Him. We can waiver and weaken in a given moment, but He tells us He'll always be with us. In time we see this to be so.

Belief is not a static thing, but a living thing. The breath of life shares life through belief.

Psalms 40:17
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Psalms 107:20-22
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
21 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22 And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Acts 2:39
For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

And We Know -John 4:39-45

John 4:39-45 ESV
Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
43 After the two days he departed for Galilee. 44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.) 45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

The townspeople believed at first on the testimony of the woman. Her testimony was not based on a miraculous healing or sign, but His knowledge of her. He could speak to her of things of her heart. His acceptance of her was complete and without reserve, and this is perhaps the greatest miracle for us all. We know because He knows us and the word of God. He brings us together.

They go to Him and more believe when they hear for themselves as He spoke of the love and forgiveness of God. There was no doubting His word. The day of salvation had arrived and they received it with joy.

1 John 4:13-14
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

Mark 6:4-6
And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.

1 Timothy 4:10
For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2
1 Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says,
“In a favorable time I listened to you,
and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 4:13
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Luke 4:32
and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Known By God

[ESVi] 1Cor. 8:3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

It's not who you know, but who you love.

Dwells In Me -Romans 7:14-25

Romans 7:14-25 ESV
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Not understanding actions of the flesh implies a spirit that has come alive to God. Though the spirit is reborn into life from above, the body remains unchanged. It is only when we rise to meet Christ will we be made whole in new bodies. Paul admits to this condition of weakness and his struggle. In his heart and mind he agrees with God, yet he finds himself straying from time to time from the very God Who has delivered his soul. He delights in the law of God, but finds another factor at play inside his skin. We are born again, but residing in the old body. The pattern of the younger inheriting the blessing is repeated.

Two entities exist in this one body, often referred to as darkness and light, heaven and earth. The light has come into the world and the world is not able to comprehend that light. This is the fallen earth and world which we must overcome. We are unable to do this ourselves, but it can be done if we unite with Christ. He has made a way and is the way.

Psalms 1:2
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

1 Corinthians 3:1-3
1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

Galatians 5:17-18
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

1 Timothy 1:8-11
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

John 3:6-7
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. ’

Psalms 119:172-176
My tongue will sing of your word,
for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord,
and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

Galatians 3:21-22
Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Sows And Another Reaps -John 4:31-38

John 4:31-38
Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36 Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps. ’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Jesus remains focused on His task. The disciples brought back something for Him to eat, but another matter was weighing more on His mind. The harvest is ready. He is the bread from heaven, the manna for a hungry world. He must continue setting the table.

The Father has sown the seed and the Son begins the reaping. Jesus tells them to look up and see the world through His eyes, the work that is at hand. Just as Jesus is sent from the Father, Jesus sends the His disciples to witness to the word. They will join in the ongoing effort of many that will find its end in salvation. It is a labor of love.

John 19:28-30
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said ( to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Proverbs 11:18
The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.

1 Corinthians 9:17-18
For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

Revelation 2:17
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. ’

Hebrews 12:2
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?

2 Timothy 4:7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

1 Peter 1:10-13
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Called to Be Holy
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober- minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Could This Be The Christ?

John 4:27-30 ESV
Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

The disciples return and find Jesus speaking to the woman. They were probably amazed at what they found as they were when they witnessed a healing, the restoration of sight or allowing a lame man to walk. This was but a healing of a different sort. Jesus reached out to a soul that was viewed as an outcast on many levels, but was one of the first to hear from His own lips that He is the Messiah, the Christ. This would bring the healing of peace.

The encounter was life changing. She came for water, a daily routine, only to find something out of the ordinary. She found the The Lord, and in doing so she was beginning to find herself. The old began to give way to the new, as the darkness began to give way to the light.

Leaving her water jar behind could signify the leaving behind of an old way of living, one that no longer applied. She had become a new vessel for the living water. She had drawn water from another well.

Previously she avoided people, but now she sought them out. The joy of her message could not be contained. She boldly shares the miracle of her find. There could have been no doubt that something had taken place when the townspeople heard her voice and saw the change in this woman. They had to see for themselves.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

Revelation 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Am He -John 4:16-26

John 4:16-26
Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

Jesus asks her about her husband. They both know the truth of the matter, and she does not hesitate with her answer. When Jesus confirms her answer and add some particulars, she realizes that He is a man unlike anyone she's met before. Instead of cowering in His presence and her shame, she asks Him about worship. She reveals a heart that is open to God. There is no circumstance that God cannot reach into, or person beyond the touch of God. He reveals Himself to ones that seek Him in truth.

Multiple husbands of this woman could point us to the issue of idolatry and the worshipping of something other than God. Marriage is a commonly used metaphor for the relationship between God and His people. Jesus is the bridegroom and the husband of the church to come. "I am He".

Jesus then tells her of the true worshipers sought by God. God's plan for the beginning of a new creation is at hand. God calls out with the testimony of Jesus and His gospel of salvation. Who will answer with, "Here I am!"? As many as will answer, come and I will give you rest.

Hebrews 4:13
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Isaiah 66:2
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

2 Chronicles 7:16-18
For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel. ’

Ephesians 2:18-22
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Psalms 147:19-20
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
20 He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the Lord!

Galatians 4:6-7
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Matthew 26:63-64
But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Give Me This Water -John 4:7-15

John 4:7-15
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” ( For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

The woman is confused, and rightly so. Though He should not be there, a Jewish man in the heat of the day addresses her and asks for a drink. This is not done, yet here they are in this unexpected moment. Too amazed to ignore Him, she replies, "How is it...?"

He answers her question with the truth, but the words mystify her. She tells Him the well is deep and He has nothing to draw the water. The spiritual reality is opposite of what she sees. She is the one thirsty for the living water and she has nothing that would allow her to drink from that fountain of life, but sitting in front of her is the one who can provide that water. How common it is that we think we know something when we are far from knowing?

Wisdom and truth are usually encountered unexpectedly.

She asks for that water, though she does not know what that fully means. That is not much different than when we place our trust in Jesus. No one has seen or fully perceived the riches and wonder that await us as children of the Living God, but we know enough to say, "Give me some of this water Lord".

Ezra 4:3-6
But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers 'houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”
4 Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build 5 and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
6 And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.

Matthew 10:5-6
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Acts 10:28
And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.

Jeremiah 2:13
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Revelation 7:17
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 22:1
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jacob's Well Was There -John 4:1-6

John 4:1-6
1 Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), 3 he left Judea and departed again for Galilee. 4 And he had to pass through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.

He leaves Judea before the Pharisees are able to arrive. It's not time to contend with them. There would be time enough for that in the days to come.

In verse 4 we read He "had to pass through Samaria". While true this land lay between Judea and His destination, He could have gone around and avoided that territory, but He was here for a purpose. He had come into the world that all might be saved. He would pass through other barriers of division as well, such as between clean and unclean, man and woman, and Jew and Gentile. It is in this sense He "had to", for the salvation of man.

The first word used in this account for well is translated from the Greek word πηγη or pege which means more than a hole dug in the ground to reach water, but is in fact a source of flowing water, a spring. As the story continues, the woman lowers her vessel into a well based on the Greek word for pit or well, (φρεαρ phrear;). Just as there is a contrast in the Greek words used here by John, Jesus will speak to the woman of the contrast between water she draws and the living water He offers. He is weary and hot and rests beside the well. She carries a heavy burden as well.

"Whoever gives a cup of water to the least of these", He would later tell us will be blessed. So it was with this woman.

Joshua 24:32
As for the bones of Joseph, which the people of Israel brought up from Egypt, they buried them at Shechem, in the piece of land that Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of money. It became an inheritance of the descendants of Joseph.

James 2:1
1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

Monday, November 19, 2012

They Asked For A King -Acts 13:17-21

Acts 13:17-21 ESV
The God of the Israelites chose our ancestors and helped them become a large population while they were living in Egypt many years ago. He displayed His great power by leading them out of that powerful nation. 18 For about 40 years, He endured their constant complaining in the wilderness. 19 He opened up some land for them in Canaan by destroying the seven nations living there, and that land became their inheritance for about 450 years. 20 They had tribal leaders through the time of the prophet Samuel. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them one—Saul, son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin—who reigned for 40 years.

After gaining the land as promised, the Israelites embark on another type of wilderness journey by asking for a king, instead of being satisfied with God as their king. For 40 years they had wandered through the desert as a result of disobedience. Again they disagree with God.

The next king, David, foreshadows the coming Christ. The promised land foreshadows a creation restored and the rest of God. The 40 years could represent our life on earth as we learn to trust and follow God. It is here we are given the choice of choosing God, or something else. In these two examples the Israelites chose badly and lived with the consequence of their decision.

Maybe we can learn from their mistakes.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Heaven -John 3:31-36

John 3:31-36 ESV
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John emphasizes the divinity of Jesus. He was with God and came from God. His witness is unique for He alone started in the presence of God and descended from heaven. His witness is not confined to what God said, but the very words of God. That's why John begins His gospel about the Word being with God, and was God.

Jesus has been given all things. The Spirit in His fullness dwells within. Later Jesus will tell us that He will have to go away before the Spirit can come. Just as Christ would bear all our sins, the sins of the world, He was also He on Whom the Holy Spirit had descended and remained. In a sense, Jesus became a sort of spiritual lightening rod for the transaction of grace. Through Him sins were put to death, life made available, and the way to God was revealed as the doors of heaven were opened. One significance of Christ being given all things is that it reminds us that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life.

Verse 36 says the same thing, but in a different and clarifying way. Those that reject Christ are left in the grip of death and subject to the wrath of God. There is no room for claiming other ways to God.

Obedience is evidence of and comes from belief. One begets the other and they cannot exist apart.

1 John 4:5-6
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

2 Corinthians 1:22
and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 1:13-14
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Luke 10:22
All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Hebrews 3:18-19
And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

John 5:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 2:8-9
but for those who are self- seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,

Ephesians 5:6
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Philippians 2:9-11
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.