Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homologeo is Good For The Soul

In I John , there is a great record for believing people on what it means to 'confess' (homologeo link - speak the same thing). In I John we are reminded of the oneness we have with God and Jesus Christ through the spirit. We share that same oneness with others who are 'born again' as we all walk in the light of the Word. We're 'on the same page' so to speak.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship (koineo- link) with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. ( I John 1:1-4)
Our joy is full when we allow God's life in Christ to rest in our hearts. However sometimes we get sidetracked from the full view of what God has in store and it feels like we've wandered out on dark scary road in the middle of the night. Do we just keep walking or do we turn our direction back to the warmth and comfort of the light of home. It just takes a recognition that we have wandered into someplace where we shouldn't be. Sin is being somewhere where we shouldn't be in both doctrine and practice. (You have to have both because just walking around with the doctrine under your arm instead of in practice can keep you out on that dark road.)
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth (katharizo in Greek; cathartic in English  meaning purging or purifying) us from all sin (a wandering off the mark).(I John 1:5-7)
If we walk in light we have fellowship with each other, we don't have to make fellowship with one another. God is light, there is not one micron of injustice, unkindness, failure, fear, politics (just had to throw that in), untruth, meanness or any other form of darkness you can think of. The Word of God can be more than just a flashlight lighting our path. It can be a noonday sun surrounding us with goodness and that's good for the soul!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Born Again Again

Recently, I was reminded by someone, how the Word has helped her through the years. I remember the first time many years ago when we had a conversation about God and salvation. There are many varied takes on what it means to be 'born again'. It is a popular expression. My friend had a lot of questions about salvation and the topic of the confession of sin came up. She was really scared that if she didn't confess her sins she'd never obtain salvation. God knows we all sin or miss the mark and he knows our hearts, but His wholeness and salvation is not about sin, it is about what we believe and who we look to for answers.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
In Romans 10:9 Paul writes about salvation and never mentions sin. He uses the word 'confession' (homologeo -see link) which means 'to speak the same word'. God is the one to look to to settle the salvation question.
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
When I was designing curriculum for school, I used to love sharing things that worked with others. I loved it when they believed in what I was doing, used it and it worked for them too. What if instead those people shook their heads and began confessing how they had missed it and started crying about all the mistakes they had made? Why in the world would I want people to tell me what they were doing wrong? God is omniscient, he doesn't need us to tell Him what we are doing wrong. Repentance involves a change of mind in forward motion toward the high calling of God. People who lock into that mind-set tend to leave sin-consciousness behind.

There are religious people who believe that people need to be broken back before they can ever obtain salvation. That is not humility. That is about control. The true God does not control. Humility is freely committing to God's curriculum, not crying ones eyes out at the altar. God's curriculum is found in His Word. God committed Himself to His Word and that is where we find out about Jesus Christ. We love God because he first loved us. We are drawn to him because of love not because of sin. 

God desires success for our lives beyond what we can ever imagine. Jesus Christ is the key and represents the power that is ours when we recognize his lordship and utilize the same power that got Jesus Christ up at the resurrection.

My friend believed Romans 10:9 many years ago. God is a part of her life and her family's and it is evident. Why would we want to offer any less to people?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Revival !

There is much talk on Christian television and among churches about 'revival'. In our culture today 'revival' brings to mind a filled stadium with a charismatic preacher up in front bringing souls to the altar or home plate (or whatever!). The definition of the word 'revival' has changed through the years. It comes from the French word 'revivre' composed of 're'(again) and 'vivre' (to live).

Webster's Dictionary defines 'revival' as:
To return to life; to recover life or strength; to live anew; to become reanimated or reinvigorated.
The Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into again, and he revived. 1 Kings xvii. 22.
To raise from coma, languor, depression, or discouragement; to bring into action after a suspension.
To renew in the mind or memory; to bring to recollection; to recall attention to; to reawaken.
To restore or reduce to its natural or metallic state; as, to revive a metal after calcination.
In the Bible, the word 'revive' is used mostly in individual lives such as in the example in I Kings. In the gospels and the book of Acts there are several examples of large numbers of people paying attention to the things of God, but it starts with the Word becoming a reality to an individual that sparked the attention. Peter who had denied Christ at one time in his life, sat in the temple on Pentecost and received the gift of holy spirit. He then stood up with all boldness and shared what had happened to his own heart. In Paul's life, we can read about his awakening in Acts 9 where he sees the reality of Jesus Christ and what it means. Much of the rest of Acts shows the growth of Paul and his travels to share what God had done for him, culminating in his writing of the church epistles and more that affected many lives even until this day.

Those who hear the truth and believe, revive (isn't that what the popular term 'born again'(Link) means; to again live?) because of God's gift of holy spirit. The spirit of God energizes both the body and soul of a man or woman. It strengthens, comforts, encourages, enhances, provides wisdom and many other things too numerable to mention. That is what revival is all about.
I Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
I Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

the Love of God continued ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

The love of God is deep; it often moves behind the scenes. The most beautiful thing about it is that it knows exactly where to make its mark whether it is appreciated or not. When the love of God is active, it gets the task at hand done. It lifts people out of the mundane rut track and sets them above the fray. Love energizes believing. It helps people to do wonderful things when it is the motivation behind the utilization of God's spiritual tools, the nine manifestations.

Starting in verse 4 of I Corinthians 13, God lists the characteristics of His love. Because of its location between chapters 12 and 14, chapter 13 is very significant. It stands right between the scriptures that describe our spiritual abilities and the scriptures that describe those abilities in operation when people are gathered together. The love of God is central to all we do.
4Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Think about why the love of God is patient and kind? The effects produced sometimes take time, but they are are enduring. There are times when God is working with us step by step and maybe we can't see the forest for the trees, but in the end it is plainly visible how he loves us and has been cheering for us. It the same when we love others with His love. God may show us how to bless someone with the right word or action and their immediate reaction might not be what we expected. They may never see the depth of that kind of love. It doesn't matter. Our action may be part of a long string of events that eventually produces the fruit. It is God who notices what you do and lifts you up. His promotion involves providing more unimaginable opportunities for you to take care of things for Him. The more you spiritually mature, the bigger the job.

In Acts 9, there is a great example of a man walking in love and believing for God. Ananias was called upon to minister to Saul/Paul. The scripture calls Ananias a 'certain disciple'. Was he a minister? Yes! Did he have a gift ministry(Ephesians 4:11-12)?  It doesn't say. That was between him and God. What is evident in his life is the love that craves to see God's intent come to pass. That love is not human love. The intent is the ultimate motive behind it all.

Things don't happen over night, that is why patience is an attribute of God's love. The proper use of the nine manifestations to genuinely help requires that settled enduring strength on the inside. God doesn't push and shove, he is deliberate and right on. It is worth waiting for and it yields magnificent fruit. The church epistles are evidence of that.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Love of God

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-2)
Interestingly these verses are set between two chapters devoted to the operation of the gift of holy spirit in the church. We have wonderful spiritual abilities, but without the love of God we are  nothing.

Now let's throw in a little sacrifice and charity work.
 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
What good is that! Nothing! It all sounds loving in today's world. None of these avenues come close, not even one little micrometer, to the unfathomable love God is able to pour into our  hearts  to every nook and cranny of our being. It is real, authentic, unfeigned and powerful.

There are some great books on the market on how to have  better  relationships with people, but even if a person memorizes and quotes them verbatim, the old adage applies that 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'. The love of God is an inside job.  It is resident in any man or woman when he or she makes Jesus Christ Lord.  It is God's love and it FAR EXCEEDS human love! It has perception, insight, vision, righteousness, justness and so many attributes that it is hard to list them all. God lists a few in the rest of the chapter.

The love of God is something you cannot practice, rehearse or robotically manifest. No one can tell you how to do it. There is no mistaking it because it is just so right, reassuring and is perfect justice, a complete truth.

So how do we share the love of God with others? First and foremost we need to really see how much He loves us. We need to have the contentment of knowing we are loved by Him before we can ever really help others. It doesn't matter where you've been, what baggage you are trying to lug around, you can let go and let God have free reign in your hearts by reading and digesting the church epistles.
We have to remember that we don't push God around, we don't bend Him, and we don't twist Him to suit our luggage. He is what He says He is in His word and we are what He says we are. Just read the first chapter in Ephesians, it's all there.