Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Firstfruits - 2 Thessalonians 2:13

2 Thessalonians 2:13 ESV 
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth."

We are chosen because we believe. All who choose God will be chosen by Him for salvation. We are made holy by that belief, sealed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ as the firs firstfruits of those being saved. 

The full crop is yet to be harvested. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Pure Heart - Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5:8
" “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

A pure heart does not turn to God. A pure heart resides in the presence of the Lord. It is the broken and contrite heart that turns to God and journeys with Him. The closer we come to Him, the purer our hearts become. We become more like His heart which is embodied in the person of Jesus. We who follow after Jesus will see Him at last. We will behold Him face to face. It is our journey and the work of the Lord. 

A disciple asked Jesus where He was staying. Jesus said, "come and see". The blind receive their sight. 

The purification of the heart happens in the presence of of God. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Face Cloth - John 20:6-7

John 20:6-7 ESV 
Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.

The face cloth that was folded refers to a cloth that was used to wipe the perspiration from one's brow and to cover the face of the dead.  This may signify the leaving His suffering and death behind. Grave clothes were no longer needed. The folding of the cloth and setting it aside by itself may remind us that Jesus is the firstborn and the head of the body of believers. Having overcome death, He does away with the veil of death and sets it aside with the full power and authority of the risen Son. 

g4676. σουδάριον soudarion; of Latin origin; a sudarium (sweat-cloth), i.e. towel (for wiping the perspiration from the face, or binding the face of a corpse): — handkerchief, napkin.
AV (4) - napkin 3, handkerchief 1;  (Olivetree Enhanced Strong's 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Word - Luke 8:11

Luke 8:11 ESV
" Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God."

Abraham's seed is Jesus is the word of God which become the sons of God. His word will be fulfilled. 

Matthew 13:37-40
" He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the ,sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

From Dust To Stardust- 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 ESV 
" Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven."

Jesus gave His life for us. We know this. What may be distant in our thoughts is that His life was like no other. This was the life of God, the life-giving Spirit. 

The Spirit brought Him into the world and raised Him from the grave. Like Mary, we each conceive a son through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. We are reborn and raised from the grave of life chained by death. He is the firstborn and makes our birth possible. We become sons of God. His life becomes ours. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Prepare The Way - Mark 1:2-3

Mark 1:2-3 ESV 
As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

John embodies the prophets and Old Testament of a people who prepared the way for The Lord. Israel journeyed in the wilderness with the word of God. Israel was not the one, but pointed to the one to come. Their story, struggle, and witness prepared the way and gave birth to the Messiah Who would give flesh to that word. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lord, Lord - Matthew 7:21-23

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV 
I Never Knew You
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Just thinking about it or saying the right words can leave one short of entering the kingdom. Jesus tells us it is possible to say these things and still not be doing the will of the Father that opens the door to salvation. Another paradox is before us. It is not doing that will save us. We are incapable of doing anything to save ourselves. There is nothing we can do on our own. We must do something, but what is it?

It is the will of the Father that makes the difference. His will and not ours. The manifestation of the Spirit will reveal the presence of the Spirit. If the Spirit is present, He will know you. If you are unsure, ask Him and seek Him. He will be found and reveal Himself to your heart. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seventh Day - Genesis 2:1-3

Genesis 2:1-3 ESV 
The Seventh Day, God Rests
​ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Sabbath was made for man. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The verses that follow speak to a place and creature that were holy, that is Eden and Adam. Adam was holy because he was able to stand and commune with our Holy God. Eden was holy for God was present. Man lost that position due to the disobedience of Adam. 

We are commanded to be holy as He is holy as we have entered the body of Christ and begin to walk in the kingdom of God as presented in the image of Eden. That Garden will expand and extend to the ends of the earth as the knowledge of God fills the world.

Sabbath points to rest and fellowship with God. It is the point of creation encapsulated in the creation story. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

In Spirit And Truth - John 4:19-24

John 4:19-24 ESV 
The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 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. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

True worship is done in the temple of the spirit. We are the temple where God resides with us, for He is in us. God is Spirit and that Spirit seals us in the kingdom, into the temple of His presence. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Worship is part of our relationship with Him. It is not dependent on the space we occupy, but the room we provide to Him in our hearts. 

This is spirit and truth. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Parable Of Life - Mark 4:33-34

Mark 4:33-34 ESV 
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

Life here on earth is but a shadow of life to come, a parable that speaks of life beyond our imagination. We can only give ear to listen with the language of our experience. It is with the heart we are able to encounter God. Spirit with spirit. Deep reaching out to deep. We commune truly with God when we are able to sit still before our Father Who is beyond our words and concepts. 

It is given to us who believe to understand its meaning. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Once - Hebrews 9:27

Hebrews 9:27 ESV 
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,

We have been given one life. Our purpose in life is to find the true life of God.

The rest is information and are but details that are secondary to our purpose. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ministry Of Death - 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

2 Corinthians 3:7-11 ESV 
Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Israel received the word of God representing mankind. The word given bore the ministry of condemnation which had to precede and prepare the way for the ministry of righteousness. We experience one glory before we can experience the final and abiding glory which is the life of God. It is for this we are born and reborn. The ministry of death made this possible: life without end. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Becoming Obsolete - Hebrews 8:13

Hebrews 8:13 ESV 
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

A rebuilt temple in Jerusalem is no longer needed or applicable. There is no further need of sacrifice to atone for sin. Jesus was the last and sufficient sacrifice for the world. It was part of the old covenant which has been replaced by the new covenant. The true temple was rebuilt in three days as Jesus said it would be. The old temple was a shadow of the true temple which took the shape of the resurrected Son of God. 

It will return in the new Jerusalem in the presence of God with us. No temple is needed. 

Just as the Messiah did not appear as the Israelites expected the first time so will it happen again. This time it will be different. This time they will recognize their long awaited Lord. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Go Out From Her Midst - 2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1

2 Corinthians 6:17 - 7:1 ESV 
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
​ Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

There is a confessing movement within the United Methodist church in the US. In may be hard to believe that some in the church saw this to be a necessary action, to confess in the gospel of Jesus and the authority of Scripture. Yet when asked to confirm these statements of faith, only about 15% of the churches were bold enough to confirm the core beliefs of Christian faith. 

During an upheaval in my previous congregation I sent a email to our church leaders and the pastor asking if we support the doctrines listed on the United Methodist website, and if not, was it possible to head in that direction. There was a resounding silence. 

There has been much conversation in the decades since the beginning of this confessing movement about an eventual split in the in the Methodist denomination. This may be in the future of the Methodist church but it has no impact on The Church, the body of Christ. All who confess Christ and follow Him are in Christ, and are not identified or limited by any denomination, but by the name of The Lord. The unity of that body is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit given to the Church. 

If you find yourself in a church, regardless of denomination or persuasion, that does not confess Jesus Christ and His testimony, you need to go out from their midst. It is a personal decision to follow after The Lord. It is our own walk with The Lord for which we will all give an account and are held accountable. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Laughter For Me - Genesis 21:1-7

Genesis 21:1-7
The Birth of Isaac
​ The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

God's promise to Abraham of a son and descendants beyond count was an early manifestation of the "already, but not yet" state in which we Christians find ourselves. The birth of his son Isaac was delayed and by all accounts impossible, but the baby was born. The word spoken by God was as good as done.

We are like Abraham as we await the revealing of the sons of God. God has promised this to the child of God, when mortality puts on immortality and the word will becomes flesh once again. 

Abraham's descendants are still growing in number with each rebirth of a believer into the kingdom of heaven. To Abraham and Sarah it seemed like a long time, but it came to pass. Though the return of Jesus seems to be a long time coming in our eyes, it will surly come to pass. The New Jerusalem will descend from heaven and there will be much joy and laughter, though by most accounts this is impossible. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The First Fish - Matthew 17:24-27

Matthew 17:24-27
The Temple Tax
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Jesus is giving Peter a lesson that points to a fundamental element of His mission on earth. Jesus came to free man from the tax of the kings of the earth. This is a reference to the "toll" of judgement that burdens every man as a result of sin. The sons of the king are free from this tax. This speaks of the freedom from death that awaits all others, those who are not sons of the king. 

He has paid the price of the penalty that we owe. The fish echoes the word Jesus spoke to the disciples when He called them. "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men". Jesus is the first fish, the cornerstone of the new temple. From His mouth comes the word of our salvation. From His death the debt is paid. This includes all that will share in the hook of the gospel. 

Seek and you will find. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Be Holy - 1Peter 1:14-16

1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV 
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

"You shall be holy" applies to us equally in two ways. The first and usual interpretation is that we are to change our conduct to reflect our status as children of God. Unquestionably we are commanded to be holy in our conduct. 

We must not overlook the fact that we are holy because God has made us holy. The same God who says, "Let there be light" here says, "You shall be holy". 

As a child of God you are holy, set apart in His house.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Way - Luke 3:4-6

Luke 3:4-6 ESV 
As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

There is a way of The Lord. Jesus said He is the way. 

We prepare through repentance, through the understanding of our need and desiring God's answer for our need. The distance from God we have created by the crookedness of our wanderings, in the shadows of our mountains of self and in the valley of ignorance, will give way to a road level and smooth. 

He is the way, but we must allow this in each life, to turn to Him. It's so much easier than going it alone. There is a predetermined way for life and it's God's way. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Flaming Sword - Genesis 3:24

Genesis 3:24 ESV 
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

This flaming sword prefigures the sword of Christ's mouth that sets the world on fire with the word of truth. This is the only way to the tree of life, to the presence of God.

It is a double edged sword. The word saves or condemns depending if one believes God.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Filled - Acts 2:1-4

Acts 2:1-4 ESV 
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
​ When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

They were sitting together in one place. In this way the church was established and in this way the church remains, bound by the one Spirit. The same spirit that hovered over the deep at creation comes to rest on each of the disciples. A new creation is unfolding. As the Spirit remained on Jesus at his baptism, so did the Spirit remain on these ones to enter the kingdom of heaven.

The house is filled with the Spirit, A different Greek word is used to describe the filling of the disciples. Both imply a completion, the fulfillment of prophecy uttered long ago. The word of God will not return void.

We continue to experience the filling from heaven and speak the spirit words of the Holy Spirit as divided tongues speaking in the unified tongue of the Spirit. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In His Image

If God does not change and He took our shape and entered our humanity then rose into heaven as a new man, might this cause us to pause when we consider we are made in His image?

Could there be more implied in the phrase "in His image" than we think?

Monday, September 1, 2014

In The Name - Matthew 28:18-20

Matthew 28:18-20 ESV 
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus confirms the significance of what He has done and Who He has become. He was slain before the foundation of the world and has always been the word of God. He defeated sin and death. He now sits on the throne of heaven. 

The name of God includes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of the Three in One that calls Himself, "I AM".

The commandments are not written on stone, but now in hearts of flesh. God in His multitude dwells within us. He is always with us. He shares His name and His life.