Saturday, August 27, 2011

God Surge and Word Impact

On the weather channel today there are a constant replay of scenes of reporters standing fighting wind and rain while describing the on-scene evidence of hurricane activity. Storms, earthquakes, and economy are the fruits of this world. It just never stops.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful song of deliverance to our hearts and contains so many embedded gems.  In verses 1 and 2, four names of God are used:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High (elyon -possessor of heaven and earth) shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty (Shaddai - all-bountiful giver of grace).  I will say of the LORD (Jehovah who has a relationship with those who love him), He is my refuge and my fortress: my God (Elohim- the creator of heaven and earth); in him will I trust. 
When you read through the rest of the Psalm with these names in mind, it truly is a song! In the King James Version the word 'deliver' is used three times.
verse 3: Surely he shall deliver thee
verse 14: therefore I will deliver him
verse 15: I will deliver him
These are beautiful verses especially when you look up the word 'deliver' in each verse. These three are actually different words!
verse 3 is natsal (Strongs#5337) meaning to snatch, take away or strip from
verse 14 is palats 3 (#6403) cause to escape
verse 15 is chatats 3 (#2502) draw off or out, withdraw
We certainly could get the message if it was the same word, but as workmen there are special joys when we dig a little deeper to mine the diverse gems of truth and let God take care of His own commentary!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Work the Works?

In John 6 after the record about the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus had left the scene and people started looking for him.  When they found him, he told them (John 6:26-29):
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed (link-sphragizo). Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
I know so many people who have asked that question"what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" Jesus Christ's answer is still true today. He is the living focus, path, and reality to us in this age also.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gen X,Y,Z? What about A,B,C?

Recently I was reading an article on the subject of  the generation gap and I wondered what the Bible says about it.

As a high school teacher, I was constantly faced with understanding 'generational issues'.  This not only had to do with students, but also with younger teachers as I grew older. I never labeled generations as X and Y, but I do recognize every generation has it's unique distinctions. I grew up in the 60's. The youth of that time had it's distinctive characteristics due to the culture at the time. Every age has it's uniqueness and its contributions. They are not all the same.

 There are those who love to magnify generational differences and rationalize differences in corporate circles. The world seems to credit older people with seasoning experience, younger people with energy and enthusiasm. I have known many older people who have enthusiasm and energy, and I have known many younger people with no energy and enthusiasm.  I have also met younger people who seem wise for their age and I have met older people that are not so wise. It isn't about age, it is about what we learn and continue to learn. I am still growing up in my 60's because growing up will never stop.

The Bible says it is Christ who strengthens us as we believe. The secret that God had hidden became available to us after the resurrection and is fully taught in the epistles written by Paul and it transcends all age groups, from the youngest child to the oldest elder.
Colossians 1:26-27 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
A, B, C cannot live without X, Y, and Z and the rest of the alphabet for that matter to make words that communicate whole thoughts. The same is true for each member of the family of God in working together to produce genuine results.  Respect for the Christ in each other regardless of age, sex, race or whatever else tries to split and separate the body of Christ is important. It is without these obstacles and divisions that we can truly continue to grow and learn and the outcome will be:
Psalm 145:4: One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In The Bubble

Bubbles are so much fun; just ask any kid!  They love to chase them and try to catch them! They are so kinetic and pretty.

When I read God's Word  and retain it in my mind by believing, I feel like I'm walking around in one of those beautiful bubbles. It is the bubble that God provides us as he reveals himself to us.

In Romans 12:2, Paul writes:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
It is the renewed mind that is the source of all power.  It is one thing to read the words on a page, but it is quite another thing to have the words on a page transform your mind.  God's Word is no ordinary book. God's heart is magnified to us as we read and understand the truth that pertain to our specific situations, properly applied. It is 'gold' to us and puts us in the zone!
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
The bubble is transparent, we can see through it. We don't walk around blind to life. The challenges of any day can be seen and can seem to press against the curve of the bubble, but we can stay within its boundaries in our minds to accomplish whatever we have to do.This bubble doesn't have to pop! The renewed mind is not a 'grit your teeth and bear it' thing; it is living and acting in that deeper meaning of life, knowing and trusting the God that truly loves us.  It is really kinetic and pretty! That is when our life bubbles over to others.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Holding the Head

In light of the current news hype and dismal proclamations, it is a temptation to be drawn into the melancholy and frustration of the times. It is apparent that everyone seems to have the answer, but at best things seem unyielding, full of contention with constant striving and politico.
Thank God for for the book of Colossians! It is a 'seated in the heavenlies' view of real life and keeps our focus in the right place so that we don't get pulled off of our perch and into the muck. God warns us in Colossians 2 about several things.
Colossians 2:6-10 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit (link - apate), after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead (spiritual nature of God) bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
We are complete in him and he is the head and we 'hold' the head.
Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 
E. W. Bullinger in his A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament  defines the word 'holding':
krateo - to be strong, powerful; to have power or rule over; to have and to hold in one's power, to be master of, and so, to hold, hold fast, to attain and maintain power over.
Thayer and Smith define 'krateo' as:
to have power, be powerful, to be chief, be master of, to rule, to get possession of, to become master of, to obtain, to take hold of, to take hold of, take, seize, to lay hands on one in order to get him into one's power, to hold, to hold in the hand,to hold fast, i.e. not discard or let go, to keep carefully and faithfully, to continue to hold, to retain, of death continuing to hold one, to hold in check, restrain.  
The head sits on top of the body. The body elevates the head. It is an interesting analogy and a nice 'holding pattern'.
Jesus Christ is alive today and at the right hand of God. We are part of a time in history where we are part of the body of Christ and Jesus Christ is the head. God set it up that way. It is a great way to be nourished, knit together and increased with the increase of God. In confusion and frustration we have peace and live above the fray because of what God has given us. That's plenty to be thankful about!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How much simpler could it be?

Acts 1:1-8
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV

The kingdom of God does not refer to a political kingdom. It is a kingdom under God's authority. Jesus Christ shared with the apostles about the Kingdom of God over the 40 days he spent with them in his resurrected body. In addition he talked to them about sharing about him to the ends of the earth.

How much simpler could it be?