Thursday, March 30, 2017

GO


To my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ:

You accepted the issue that plagues the world as being sin - a spiritual problem with a physical manifestation - a nature that desires to be in constant rebellion with God. However, you also accepted and believe The Savior, Christ Jesus, came into this world and purchased with His own life and victory over death your Salvation, Redemption, and Deliverance. Furthermore, you believe Jesus ascended to the right hand of Father God and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within believers as his/her Counselor, as God's Representative here on earth.

Now, the command is "Go". Mark 16:15 states, "He [Jesus] said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" What He did not say was sit or stay still. How could we be silent and/or non-mobile with such Good News that bears the weight of eternal significance?

Going requires action. We can actively scan for opportunities to share our testimony or the Good News of Christ with someone. We need to have our spiritual antennas up daily - sensitive to how The Holy Spirit would lead us. 

Going also means displaying the Christian qualities that would attract someone to the point of sharing the Good News of Christ with them. Showing qualities such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, discernment with The Spirit, living out of hope, viewing God as your true Father and how you respond to problems are a good jump-start to magnifying Christ in your life. As we lift Him up in our lives, He draws all people unto Himself. But we cannot be as effective dormant. With our whole heart, with His blessing, with His power - I pray we Go! 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

THAT SOMEONE YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE


I would venture to guess that there are people in most everyone's lives that we like to be around for an extended period of time, an entire day maybe a lifetime. Then there are others we like, but can only take their personality for a handful of hours. There are others we tolerate for a few minutes and others still that we avoid altogether. 

For whatever reasons you and I may list for having that someone around for a whole day or a whole lifetime, we do need breaks from their presence, perspective and personality every now-and-then. However, I believe there is a Perfect One that meets all relationship chemistry - Jesus Christ.

I believe that just as God has created and ordained The Church to be recognized as His Bride corporately and be treated as such, so too we will be viewed individually by Him - an individual married to Christ. I love to ponder the benefits of such a union when it will be finally and fully manifested.

Finally, I will be able to see and hear my Savior that I have trusted since 1979 (9 years old). I will get to laugh with Him. I will have the opportunity to know Him better. I will get to ask Him questions that have bothered me for a while. I will get to hear Him sing. I believe everybody, miraculously, will be able to hang out with Jesus anytime. For Jesus is and will be That Someone You Will Never Want To Leave.

Monday, March 27, 2017

LIVING TOWARD HIS LIKENESS

Romans 8:14-17 names several key identifiers for Christians as God's children. 

  1. "those who are led by the Spirit"
  2. not living in fear any longer
  3. regarding God as your true Father
  4. recognizing suffering is guaranteed as a child of God, but realizing the glory and benefits outweigh them all (verses 17-18).
Why are there identifiers in the first place? Because acceptance of Christ's Salvation plan for your life is great, but not all. The rest of a Christian's walk is living out the joy from where or what God saved you. The faith walk of a Christian has been guaranteed to be hazardous, but not without God's presence and guidance along the way. The hope is in the destination and transformation. Heaven being the ultimate destination and the Christian's transformation from glory to glory unto more Christ-likeness being the other goal. 

As a Christian there is a time we are trying to recover or return to - the pre-fall condition. Besides mankind's duties of tending the Garden of Eden and naming the animals (Gen. 2:15, 19), the biggest perk of all was being made in God's image and His likeness

In Genesis 1:26 God said, "'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over....". To begin I want you to catch two important observations about this verse. The first is that there is a comma after the word "image" for a reason. The comma is meant to give the reader pause and for good reason - the word "image" and the word "likeness" are not the same word. 

"Image" in the original Hebrew is the word Tselem. This word means resemblance. In this sense resemblance refers to having the same kind of make-up - body, mind and soul - therefore being a person like God is a person.

"Likeness" in the original Hebrew is the word D'muth. This word means similitude also. However, this similarity refers to the mannerisms of Adam and Eve matching up with God's.

Second of all the words "so that" imply that the preceding image and likeness are used in some fashion. How are they used? "that they (Adam and Eve) may rule over... [whatever]. In this case, it was the creatures of the earth and sea that they were to have dominion. Today in our Christian journey that which we desire to have "rule over" is obtainable through aligning with Christ's image and likeness.

So a quick status check for me or any other Christian would be to initialize a sort of reflective Life Through the Spirit Report Card. Ask the Holy Spirit to grade you - He will. I would include things like - Do I screen decisions through the discernment of the Holy Spirit first? Do I still allow fear to steer my choices? Do I keep in view God as my Father? Do I recognize coming suffering, but realize greater reward? Do I realize how I respond to these questions attracts or detracts others from The Family of God? I can't wait for my image to be perfected. Meanwhile, He has instilled in me His likeness as I improve with God's help - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Living Toward His Likeness.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

HE WEARS HIS NAME WELL

Have you ever heard somebody say, "That name suits him/her."? The same could be said of Father God's only begotten Son - Christ Jesus. There are many names that Jesus has been entitled. The following poster names a few familiar ones to Christians.
According to archaeological research and findings, Yeshua was a common name in the time of Christ. Jesus comes from the transliteration of Yeshua into Greek and then English. We observe it linked with another individual who ended up being a false prophet in Acts 13:5-7. Interestingly enough, the key to appreciating Christ's earthly name is in the prophetic. 

Many prophets such as Isaiah trumpeted One Savior, first for the Jews, then for the Gentiles (rest of the world) to fulfill a plethora of beautiful and powerful titles. There could not be a committee of Yeshuas - there can be and is only one! 

Many of the names given to the Savior have been fulfilled in His first visitation. Many of the others are being revealed to His followers now in their personal walks of faith. Still other prophetic titles will be manifested in the future (hopefully near future). 

However, there are so many fulfillments of His character through these declared names or titles that there is no shadow of a doubt who The Savior and all other accolades refer to - Yeshua Messiah of Nazareth, but from Everlasting to Everlasting! 

Personally, in my walk of faith with The Savior, I have seen Him reveal Himself as Protector, Provider, Comforter, Counselor and of course Savior to name a few. His name, Yeshua, means to deliver, save or rescue. No other person with the name Jesus or Yeshua was suited or will ever be suited for the weight of the meaning in that name. Jesus of Nazareth has added to His Name and everyone will one day bow to Him and His Name to the Glory of Father God (Philippians 2:9-11). This is why it is an understatement, but I say it anyway - He Wears His Name Well!




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

RESONATING WITH GOD

Romans 8:14-17
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

This was the passage my pastor taught from recently. However, the bold print is what has been impressed upon me to teach about today. The key word in the sentence is "testifies"

The original Greek word used here for "testifies" is summartureo (soom-mar-too-reh-o). This word comes from a compound of two words - sun (soon) and martureo (mar-too-reh-o). Sun means union, with or together. Martureo means to be a witness, testify or report honestly. Put these two words together and because of the decision to accept Christ as Savior and be "led by the Spirit" - The Holy Spirit Himself makes His home within the heart and mind declaring your daughter-ship or son-ship in God's Family!

Some have the image of converts to Christianity switching from one taskmaster to another. Incorrect. Spiritually, this world is a slave market and the slave king is Satan. Satan's entire slavery market has been purchased by the life of Father God's Only Son - Jesus Christ. So, when someone decides to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and not continue in their spiritual bondage/slavery - he/she transfers from a Market to a Family. At this point, The Holy Spirit resonates with your spirit that you are a child of the Most High God. 

However, Father God desires that we continue to resonate with Him. The word summartureo also carries with it a proof of evidence supporting the witness's claim(s). This suggests that when we are led by The Spirit and are therefore in His Will - The Holy Spirit testifies of the thoughts, actions or words that line-up with God's and we receive Holy Resonation. Flip the coin and we should know when we do not resonate with God's plan for our lives. There usually is a sense of disharmony between us and The Holy Spirit. 

To all my brothers and sisters in Christ - know that the day you accepted Christ as your Savior the Holy Spirit entered you and declared to all in the Spiritual Realm you are in fact a daughter/son of Father God. In addition, you and I gained The Counselor, with whom we resonate in God's Family for the betterment of our lives and the lives around us. So, make sure you keep Resonating With God.

Monday, March 6, 2017

THIS KIND OF PERSON

John 14:21

"The person who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him."


This verse declares relationship. Christians have the privilege of a relationship with the Savior that covers ambassadorship, friendship, and family. Here the relationship is centered around an exchange of "love", but not any kind of love. A displayed, public, social love is communicated here. And this transaction of affection and care all begins with having, knowing and living The Word of God.  

Seeing a Bible on a coffee table in someone's home is one thing. Seeing it operative in the people who live in that home is another thing. To like a person is one thing and to love that same individual is another thing. So, without further delay, allow me to break down this verse in order to encourage you to be the kind of person who has God's commandments and keeps them

"The person who has My commandments"
The original Greek word for "has" in this segment is Echo. This word means one who has physical possession or hold of. In this case, a person possesses a physical copy of God's "commandments"

The Greek word for "commandments" is Entole meaning authoritative instructions. These are not the kind of instructions that point a finger at us, but instead empower the Christian with God's authority to do His Will. So, when combined we have - The person who physically possesses My authority-giving instructions.

"and keeps them is the one who loves Me;"
Continuing on with the second part of owning a copy of God's authority-giving instructions is showing you can follow them. The second half reads - "and keeps them is the one who loves Me;". The word "keeps" in the original Greek is Tereo, meaning a fortified or protected effort to fulfill a command. A determined resolution while in the midst of obeying God that nothing will derail you is meant here. 

The word that Jesus chose to use for "love" here is the word Agapao which is love in a more social or moral sense. So, meshing these together one might say - and the effort protecting the attempt to fulfill my instructions is the one who displays their care for me in front of others;

We find this Agapao love mentioned in another part of Scripture also. In John 21:15-17, Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter "loves" Him. The first two times Jesus uses the word agapao which carries this social meaning of love. Peter responds with a more intimate word both times, phileo, which means to be a friend of or to have affection for. The third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus switched to the word Peter had been using - phileo. Peter's reply was "Lord, you know all things. You know I phileo you." I believe because of this truthful exchange between hearts, Jesus then revealed a major part of Peter's future - the manner in which he would die for his Lord. Revelation is a result of truthful, heartfelt exchanges in this verse also - Jesus promises to reveal Himself to him/her.

"and whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him."
Jesus continues to praise the one who chooses to live and operate this way by involving His Father's love and revelations of Himself.  

The first part of this, "and whoever loves Me will be loved by My Father," has the same tone and impression Jesus gave in John 3:16 when He stated "whosoever will believe in me". The whosoever/whoever says it all. These words break down categories, labels, biases and prejudices of people. "Whosoever" allows for any person from any walk of life to approach God, through Christ Jesus.

Again, "love" here is the social kind of love, so in essence God is supporting His Word in Matthew 10:32-33 when He said, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven." And not only will Father God and Jesus publicly make their love known to you, but Jesus will reveal or manifest Himself to you throughout your life.

So, this passage could be translated - 

The person who physically owns a copy of my instructions (to read and know) and makes a protected effort in fulfilling them is the one who is not afraid to display his/her care for me in public; and whoever socially expresses their devotion to Me will be cared for openly by My Father and I too will candidly show my favor and manifest Myself to him/her.

This exchange of "love" or public expression of affection and allegiance between believer, Father God and God the Son begins with having His Word in our home.  Then we cannot not allow His Word to just sit on a coffee table and collect dust - but read it! Finally, we need to apply His Word to our lives. In loving God this way we will find Jesus revealing Himself to us all-the-more as we publicly showcase Him, becoming one who has God's commandments and keeps them - becoming This Kind Of Person.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

THE GREAT BLANKET

Growing up many of us had security blankets. Some of us felt most safe and/or comfortable with a special toy, sport or place, like a tree-house outside or an inside fort. I would dare to assume that many of us, like Linus Van Pelt, actually had a blanket as his/her security blanket and may still have it.

Let me hone in on the blanket a moment, because I am guilty on this one. What is it about The Blanket that keeps me coming back for more? For me, the texture of my blanket is incredible and the size and thickness is perfect. It is not going to be too hot or not warm enough for me. Plus, it is Carolina Blue - of course. I imagine many of us take texture into consideration, but also look at design - like sports, religion or old fashion designs as part of the draw to our snugly partners.

I don't think it is to far fetched an idea that psychologists submit the security blanket is a reverting back to the womb action or reaction. The womb was for many, not all I realize, a place of comfort and protection. Do we not at least think we achieve the same things with The Blanket at times? I have seen The Blanket used for protection in scary movies and cold weather. I have seen The Blanket used for comfort in times of sickness, sleep and even a roof for inside tents/forts. So, the evidence is there - The Blanket is a security blanket.

However, I wanted to encourage my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that we have a Greater Blanket. I don't recall ever calling God, nor ever finding any support for calling God - The Great Blanket, but leave it to me to come through in that category. With the idea that God covers and/or surrounds the believer with His presence and blessings, Scripture immediately comes to support this idea.

In Psalm 91 we see word pictures that reference God in a security image - Fortress, Refuge, Shelter, and Shield. These are characteristics of God as our Blanket that we can run to and throw Him around ourselves. Plus, we do not have to go to any special place to access our Great Blanket or Fortress, Refuge, Shelter or Shield. Scripture in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." This verse says we carry the Great Blanket, the Holy Spirit, wherever we go and because of the great price that was paid for that privilege we should honor God with our bodies. 

How do we honor God with our bodies? One way is to daily wrap ourselves up in Him as our Great Blanket. Whether you need to wrap up in Him as your Healing Blanket, Providing Blanket, Protection Blanket, Peace Blanket or Whatever Blanket - His threads are woven to provide all your needs. So, grab a nice beverage, go to a place of non-distraction and wrap yourself up with The Great Blanket.