Thursday, March 31, 2016

If We Confess - 1 John 1:5-10

1 John 1:5-10 ESV 

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. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 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. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

When God said "Let there be light", He was sharing Himself with creation. God is light. This light would come to be clothed in the flesh of man. Once the door to salvation was opened, the light of God continues to grow in the world and expand in the flesh of men. Darkness is left behind as believers come to the light. 

Adam was expelled from the Garden and was clothed in animal skins by God. Jesus brings us back into the Garden and will clothe us in immortal bodies. 

John tells us that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. This does not mean we no longer sin. It means that He has paid the price of sin once and for all. Forgiveness is ours if we confess our sins. If we ask, we receive. If we do not ask, we do not receive. 

By confession, we wash our feet from the dirt of the world. The water of repentance and the blood of Jesus restore us to righteousness. This is walking in the light. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Made Manifest - 1 John 1:1-4

1 John 1:1-4 ESV 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

The exact image of God has taken form in the shape of the man named Jesus. He is full of the Holy Spirit, for the fullness of God was pleased to dwell in Him. 

No longer are we fated to remain in the darkness, empty and without form. The light of the world is revealed in a man so that the light of God would be revealed to men. We are becoming the true image of God as we enter the life of His light. 

The light shines among us in the manner most accessible to us which is in the form of one of us. Through this man, light is infused and made manifest in men in the fulfillment of God's will. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

I Will Send You Elijah - Malachi 4:5-6

Malachi 4:5-6 ESV 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

Elijah returns to witness to those in Jerusalem. 

Moses will return to witness as well. He was not able to enter the promised land due to disobedience. He fully obeys the Lord this time. The heart of Israel turns to God and they escape utter destruction. 

Elijah finally dies along with Moses. He and Moses are then resurrected and enter heaven. 

It may be the saints of the Church will enter with them. They will be spared of the wrath to come. God knows. 

The great tribulation begins. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Unless - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 ESV 

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

Holding fast to the gospel is our work in our salvation. It is reaching the end with the same belief in Christ and His saving power. 

Paul tells us it is possible to believe, but believe in vain. It is not a one time confession in the past as it is an ongoing confession taking place in the present. 

We are warned in the Ten Commandments to not take the Lord's name in vain. We are to be faithful as He is faithful. In doing so we will not be put to shame, but share in the glorious life of God. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

First Importance - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 ESV 

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

What is the most important understanding for a Christian?

The Resurrection. 

He was raised on the third day, and that according to Scripture. There is testimony of this truth before and after this marvelous thing took place. If you can confirm this by His presence in your heart, you rose with Him. 

He has risen. He has risen indeed!

Friday, March 25, 2016

His Day

We celebrate Good Friday today. Passover on the Jewish calendar is not until April 22. 

It might be good to consider God's calendar to observe His day. 

I Have Spoken - Ezekiel 5:13-17

Ezekiel 5:13-17 ESV 

“Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the Lord—that I have spoken in my jealousy—when I spend my fury upon them. Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the Lord; I have spoken— when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord; I have spoken.”

The Lord has spoken here and in Revelation. A beast will ride forth against them, deceiving and conquering. A sword will prevail, famine will come upon them, and pestilence will strike them. 

This prophesy was spoken by Moses to be the curse if Israel failed to keep the law. He knew at that time they would not. 

The end is yet to come. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Though - Ezekiel 33:13-16

Ezekiel 33:13-16 ESV 

Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, though I say to the wicked, You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

Though. A word which implies that the expected result of a condition or situation may not be what happens. The end of a matter is determined at the end. 

This is a word which may bring hope to some and worry for others. The possibility of change is possible. 

It gives a thoughtful person something to think about when one considers the exhortation in Scripture to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Believing God is not a one time decision, but a way of life. It is the way of life. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

You Only Have I Known - Amos 3:1-2

Amos 3:1-2 ESV 

Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
“You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities.

Israel is God's elect. The rest of us choose Him. 

They face a punishment from God that is like no other people because they have fallen from a unique relationship to God. 

We who believe in the name of Jesus Christ escape the punishment we deserve because of our unique relationship with the Son.  

It is a fearful and wonderful thing to be in the hands of the Lord. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In Us

The prophets of old were visited by the Spirit and spoke the word of God. Today the Spirit dwells with the children of the light and He speaks with us. 

The word is in us. 

According - Jeremiah 17:9-10

Jeremiah 17:9-10 ESV 

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Every man will receive something from the Lord, according to his ways and the fruit of his deeds. The heart and mind are where the evaluation will take place. That is where we will be judged. What we do merely gives witness to what and who we are. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

As Jehovah Lives - Jeremiah 12:14-17

Jeremiah 12:14-17 ESV 

Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: “Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.”

The Lord's heritage is Israel. Though the time of Jacob's trouble is upon them, it is the Lord's doing. He will end this time of affliction and restore Israel to their covenant state of blessing. 

There is one God and Jehovah is His name. If the surrounding nations can swear by His name and learn His ways, then their salvation will be near. 

Jehovah is His Old Testament name. His New Testament name is Jesus, the Christ. Any other name is the same as Baal, and is the way of destruction. 

So it is and Amen.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

So Turn, And Live - Ezekiel 18:32

Ezekiel 18:32 ESV 

For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

No one will be turned away, they who turn to the Lord. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Eat What I Give You - Ezekiel 2:8-10

Ezekiel 2:8-10 ESV 

“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

The scroll is not given to Ezekiel, but spread before him. Christ is the only one worthy to take the scroll and break its seals as we read in Revelation. 

He is to warn Israel of the coming judgement, which will take final form as foretold in Revelation. Israel suffered in the past and it will be repeated to a greater degree in these latter days to degree never seen before or to be seen again. 

Israel defiled their own temple with all their abominations. The four horsemen in Revelation remind us of the of this judgment. The breaking of the seals shows us that the final days have arrived. 

There is a pause of the eschatological events until the number of the body of Christ is complete. 

The scroll was spread before Ezekiel, and spread before us in this book. He ate the scroll as we eat the flesh of Christ. We digest and understand the living word. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

In Heart - Jeremiah 9:24-26

Jeremiah 9:24-26 ESV 

but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”

We understand and know the Lord because He is with us, we are sealed with His Spirit. It is with His Spirit that we are circumcised in the heart, for that is where He is. 

He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. If we open our heart to Him, we then have fellowship with Him. There we find and know Him.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Beginning And The End - Revelation 22:12-13

Revelation 22:12-13 ESV

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

The first verse in Genesis says, "In the beginning God..."
Jesus says not only is He the beginning, but He is the end. He is the purpose and fulfillment of creation. We move and have our being in Him because of this. Our highest honor and achievement is to accept this gift to His glory. It is predestined that all who believe on His name will inherit the unimaginable riches of our Father. 

He sees the end from the beginning, for He is both.   

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Have Come - Hebrews 12:22-24

Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV 

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

We have arrived at the mountain of God. To the city of God, the New Jerusalem. We have been made perfect in Jesus. All these things are in the perfect tense, meaning that this work is completed. We are to live and remain in that work. 

As Jesus said, "It is finished."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Put It On Him - Mark 15:17

Mark 15:17 ESV 

And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.

A purple robe was the opposite of what Jesus wore in His ministry. He came in the form of a servant. He will return in the white robe of light. 

A crown of thorns was the opposite of what Jesus will be wearing when He returns. He will return as King of Kings. Every knee will bow. 

The ground was cursed with thorns  because of Adam. That curse was placed on Jesus as He bore our sin. 

They put it on Him, but in reality He put it on Himself. For us. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

For The Wicked - Isaiah 57:20-21

Isaiah 57:20-21 ESV 

But the wicked are like the tossing sea;
for it cannot be quiet,
and its waters toss up mire and dirt.

There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

We who believe God have separated from the formless sea of darkness and have been transferred into the land of light. 

The heathen rage in their futility, giving voice to the emptiness within their souls. They are surrounded by the mire and dirt stirred by the tossing of the sea, adrift and without hope. Peace is hidden by the murky water. 

While there is no peace for the wicked, they can leave that water at any time. There is a way. Scripture makes that plain. Jesus makes it so. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Difference

Israel was elected by God. He chose them. 
We are invited by God. We choose Him. 

The Son

Adam was the first son of God. He was a man that attempted to be like God, to ascend into heaven. 
His descendants were sons of men. 

Jesus was the second Son of God. He is God who became a man, descending down to earth. 
His descendants are the sons of God. 

He called Himself the Son of Man while He was the Holy One of God. 

The Fast That I Choose - Isaiah 58:6-8

Isaiah 58:6-8 ESV 

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

This passage speaks of the true fasting from the Lord's viewpoint. The focus is on our neighbor. It might be a fasting from changing the focus on ourselves to the needs of others. This is the love expressed by the life of Jesus given to mankind and that is to continue through our hands. 

We are to be the love and light of Christ in the world. This involves emptying ourselves, of being poured out for the glory of the Lord. We follow the Lord in this way. 

He did it for us that we would do it for others. Spread the word. 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

In Him - Ephesians 1:7-10

Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The unification of heaven and earth began with Jesus, and continues with the believer, to be consummated upon His return. He is the first and last of creation. 

The fullness of time revolves around Christ. The fullness of God's purpose resides in Christ. In Him we have our being. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Election vs Choice

Israel is God's elect. He chose them out of all the people in the world. 
He chose them. 

We choose God. We choose Him because He is out this world. 
We choose Him. 

We both experience God. 

The Lord Saw It - Isaiah 59:14-15

Isaiah 59:14-15 ESV 

Justice is turned back,
and righteousness stands far away;
for truth has stumbled in the public squares,
and uprightness cannot enter.

Truth is lacking,
and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
The Lord saw it, and it displeased him
that there was no justice.

Israel had fallen away from the Lord, led by the leaders of the day. Without the Lord the darkness of man finds increase as light of the Lord is pushed away. 

The same is true of our nation today. We are led by leaders who do not recognize God, but find truth in themselves. Therefore truth is lacking. Justice flees and uprightness is barred from the streets. Evil prospers and persecutes those are opposed to its darkness. 

The Lord sees this and will watch over the ones that please Him. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Nothing Will Be Impossible - Matthew 17:19-20

Matthew 17:19-20 ESV 

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

What may be meant by "this mountain?" Has anyone heard of someone moving a mountain moving from here to there?

Israel is often referred to as a mountain. Mt. Zion often is used to speak of Israel or Jerusalem. This may be the mountain in view. 

Jesus may be telling His disciples that with a little faith this mountain of God would transform from the wine of the Old Testament covenant to the new wine of the new covenant. Our access to God moves from here to there. It will move when Christ opens the door to heaven, the very presence of God. 

The earth is shaken and the Rock of our salvation becomes the highest mountain. 

Nothing is impossible for us. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Feed My Sheep - John 21:17

John 21:17 ESV 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

A different Greek word for love is used in the third question to Peter. It expresses a closer, more intimate love that is associated with affection and family. He brings the question down to a personal level. 

This is the question posed to every believer with God seeking a personal relationship with each one of us. If we answer yes, we are to feed His sheep with our love for one another. We each are called to feed the sheep around us. We find pasture and peace together. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cast Lots - John 19:23-24

John 19:23-24 ESV

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom,
so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things,

Four soldiers kneel at the feet of Jesus as He hangs from the cross. They are intent on the clothing taken from Jesus, including on taking it for themselves, which is ironic when one considers that Jesus came to clothe any who ask in robes of His righteousness. 

If they had only looked up to Jesus, they might have glimpsed something of God Almighty in the awesome act of sacrificing Himself for the salvation of the world. Instead they act as any beast of the field, oblivious to the Creator of the field. 

They gamble for His clothing while He takes the chance of winning a soul that responds to love. The one responding to His love takes no chance with the salvation of Jesus Christ. 

Casting our lot with Jesus, we each will receive a new robe of His purity and righteousness all our own. Don't gamble for anything less. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Book - Revelation 1:11

Revelation 1:11 ESV 

saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

What John sees next are the churches that represents the Church, also known as the body of Christ. Seven letters are written for instruction to the Church which remains today. They are for each person that is able to "hear" the warnings and encouragement of Jesus Christ. 

Notice they are to be combined into a single book to be sent to all the churches. It is a message for the churches, or assemblies, of the body of Christ. This message does not apply to Israel or the rest of the earth dwellers who are unable to understand what is being said. They cannot "hear" what these words contain because it is the word of Christ. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Blessed - Revelation 1:1-3

Revelation 1:1-3 ESV 

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

Who are the servants of God? Might there be a distinction between the sons of God and the servants of God?

The letters to the churches serve as a message to the Church, the body of Christ. We certainly serve God, but as true worshippers and it is in the Spirit we become the temple of God. 

The inheritance of Israel is the promised land. God is the inheritance of the body of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit brings the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ to the Church. He gives witness and the peace of God within the hearts of all those who believe. 

As we speak the word of God and keep it, we are blessed. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

There He Remained - John 10:40-42

John 10:40-42 ESV 

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.
And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.”
And many believed in him there.

Jesus leaves Jerusalem and returns to the water of His baptism. That is where He is today. He meets us away from temple of the world beside the water of repentance. It is there we are able to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

And many believed in him there. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

You Know - John 14:6-7

John 14:6-7 ESV 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

If you have Jesus, you know the truth. If you have the Holy Spirit, you have the truth. If you have the truth, you know the Father and Son. 

"From now on you know him..."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Merely Human - 1 Corinthians 3:4

1 Corinthians 3:4 ESV 

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

We are all called by Christ to follow Him. This should be the desire and focus of everyone in the body of Christ. 

To do otherwise reveals the thoughts of a natural man. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Each One's Work

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 ESV 

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.
For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—
each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Paul presents a foundation for our life, which is Jesus Christ. The foundation is the same for everyone, just as He is the vine of life. 

Each person will be judged according to the life lived and the fruit born by that branch. The good news is we won't be judged by the actions of another. The bad news could be the same news. There will be no one else to blame. 

We stand with the Lord, but we also stand before the Lord. We will face the refining fire of His gaze. Nothing will remain except the fruit of His Spirit. 

Even if everything is burned up, that person will pass through the fire, for the Lord will finish the work He has begun. Everyone who places their faith in God's Son and perseveres in that faith will be saved.

We will regret showing up empty handed.