April 24, 2017
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore“ If your enemy is hungry, feed him;If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This passage is a basic guideline and checklist for the behavior and attitude that we should be living out of in Christ. You will notice that all of its tenants are based on walking in love toward your fellow man and the saints of God. Its first point is to let your love be without hypocrisy. How often do we mask our true feelings with a smile and outward show of love and piety? It is important that we be honest and transparent with one another even when our feelings or attitudes aren’t right. Love doesn’t mean that we hide them or ignore them, but that we deal with them. If our heart or our attitude is wrong then we must be willing to confess that and address it in order to correct it. If someone else’s heart and attitude are wrong then we, in humility and love are honest with them about what we see. Our function as the body of Christ is not to sit in judgement on one another, but to help each other. There are things you see about me that I may be totally blind too, if you don’t help me in love then how am I suppose to know? We all need the capacity and openness to receive correction as well as give it. None of us are yet perfect or have all of the answers. That is the reason that we function as a body and not as individuals. Our end purpose is to fulfill what this passage in Romans 12 is exhorting us to do, basically walk in love toward all men. Allow God to deal with those who abuse us with evil. We are exhorted to walk as much in love toward our enemies as we do our brethren, but it does tells us to prefer one another.
We also notice that our Christian walk is not just a passive living. It has purpose and direction. It tells us to not be lacking in diligence, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfast in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints and given to hospitality. We are processing and distribution centers for God’s love to flow through. We have a relationship with the Lord and receive of His love and blessing so that we can process that through our lives and distribute it to the lives of those around us. As we are each faithful to do this we meet the needs in one another and in our fellow man. It is in this healthy relationship with God and man that others will see the love of God flowing through our lives and we will be fulfilling our purpose and calling in Him.
April 21, 2017
Lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
What a privilege we have when we are in Christ. Yes, the sun still shines on the just and the unjust alike, just like we all experience the storms of life as well. When we are brought face to face with mortality and death looks back at us in the mirror, what a hopeless and empty feeling must be in those who do not have a relationship with Christ and know not where their help and their life comes from. The loving arms of the Father are so awesome as He envelopes His own and draws them near to His heart. When we can read scriptures like Psalms 121 and know in our hearts that our mighty God loves and cares for us so much, what a feeling of security and comfort that brings us. We all have our bumps, spills and hurts in life. It is inherent in the world we live in. We live in a world that is still reaping the consequences of sin, but within us beats a resurrection, new creation, heart. A heart that longs after God and has the assurance that nothing that we go through in life we must go through alone. He is our Comforter, our Abba Father. He feels and knows our heart. He recognizes the frailty of frame, that we are dust. In these few brief moments that we tread this earth, we have found the joy of a life with purpose and fulfillment in Christ. What we have found in Christ, even physical death can not take that away from us, but simply releases our spirit from this earthen vessel so that we may come fully into His presence.
We have come to know that physical death is not our greatest fear, but spiritual death, a life devoid of God’s Spirit and relationship with Him; that is the greatest tragedy of all. Without Him what do we have but emptiness of soul, of purpose and a life that can only be lived for the present? Without Him we only have the vain philosophies, religions and the devices of men. What a sad and empty place to find ourselves in and then we die to face what?
It should never cease to astound us nor should we ever fail to appreciate the Lord and give Him praise for what a blessed and rich people we are who have come to know Christ. We are not any better than the rest of the world in our own right, but God’s grace and salvation has and is taking us to levels of richness and blessing that we can not even fully comprehend.
When we face adversity, trials and even death in our lives, we have a hope that is so precious to us. It is our Lord we can cling too, depend upon and hope in. He is not just a crutch for weak-minded Christians as the world may mockingly say; He is the substance of our life. All that we now are is rooted and grounded in Him. Whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. The assurance we have in Christ is the Peace that Jesus spoke of that the world can not give.
As you lift your eyes today, remember where your help comes from. The Father loves you with a deep and unconditional love. Your life is hid with Christ in God. The world can never know the hope, the assurance and the security that we have because we are His own. You are the apple of your Father’s eye. He loves you. He is proud of you and He sees the righteousness of His Son in you. We are a very blessed and privileged people. Never forget or lose sight of who you are and all that is yours in Christ.
Thank You Father! Thank You Jesus!
April 20, 2017
For his anger [endureth but] a moment; in his favour [is] life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy [cometh] in the morning.
Joy comes in the Morning
You know the more hopeless the world becomes the richer our hope in Christ remains. It would not be difficult at all to fall into despair and worry at the condition of our world and the direction it is going. In the world’s view and those who wield the power of this age, we are but minor pawns in the game to be manipulated and used to whatever suits their purpose and fits their fancy. What they don’t see is that we are God’s hidden ones. What God has deposited in us in this age is something they can only try to control and destroy, but they can not pluck that which is God’s out of His hand. There is still only One that remains sovereign and supreme over all. There is only One who is unchangeable and moveable. He is the rock of our salvation and the one that gives us our blessed hope in this perverse generation. He will correct us and we will know the rod of His displeasure, but the Lord will forgive our transgressions when we repent and turn to Him. There will be weeping and sorrow through the night, but our God doesn’t leave us without hope and redemption. After we have endured the Lord’s indignation and have repented, the Lord brings us joy in the morning and hope because He still loves us and whom He loves He chastens.
I watched a documentary film the other night about all the different ones that control us as a people. It started by denouncing religion as one of them and how the same events that distinguished Jesus, such as the time of His birth, His death and resurrection, His miracles and virgin birth, were a product of the same myth that had been found in the histories of many great past societies and civilizations who worshipped god’s with very similar attributes. If we know some of our biblical history we know that those myths began to be perpetrated with Nimrod back the time of Babel. Satan always has his counterfeits, but the world often has difficulty discerning between the counterfeit and the real. Our confidence we have today in Christ doesn’t stand so much in what we know in our heads; it stands on the knowing we have in our hearts. It is the relationship I have with Christ that fully convinces me of His reality, not just what I read and hear. It is much like that old song chorus that goes, “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” The world doesn’t know Him and as a result they don’t know us. 1 John 3:1-3 tells us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” There are men that rule by an antichrist spirit that controls and manipulates the affairs of this world and are bring it to its destined course. What is happening is what has already been laid and out revealed in the Word of God. There is nothing of the affairs of this world that catches our God by surprise. He already knows the end from the beginning. We are a part of His divine plan if we hold fast to His truth and refused to be moved and dissuaded by those who would rob you of your life and faith.
Here is the warning that 1 John 4:1-6 gives to us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” The anti-Christ spirit has been at work even from the foundation of the true church. John teaches us how to recognize it and not be deceived by it. Know with confidence who you are in Christ and then live accordingly. Don’t allow the despair and despondency of this world to rock your boat, because you carry the precious life giving cargo of “Christ in You, the hope of glory”. Rejoice as you see the time growing near. This is God’s greatest hour for those whose lives are hid in Him.
April 19, 2017
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Agenda for Today
Lord, what is on Your agenda today?
Other thoughts invade my mind as I take time to pray.
I try to focus in on what Your will is for me,
But my mind is cluttered by all the mental imagery.
I find my thoughts on these rabbit trails,
Then I catch myself only to feel like I‘ve failed.
Help me Lord, get my soul quiet before Your throne.
Help me give myself, that I may be all Your own.
Lord, what is Your agenda today?
Give me spiritual ears to hear what You have to say.
Order my steps and help me with the choices I make.
Help me lose myself in You and do all for Jesus sake.
Fill my thoughts and be in all I do,
Let my former distracting thoughts, now be thoughts of You.
Focus me in Your will and plan for me.
In all I do, let it be done as unto Thee.
You are the ark and the safety for my heart,
Help me find in You my every portion and needed part.
Be my everything, as You are meeting every need,
Let me live in Christ and humbly follow as You lead.
April 18, 2017
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Resurrection means a rising up as from a seat. In this scripture Jesus communicates to Martha that the resurrection isn’t just an event for a future date in history. Resurrection is the Spirit of Life and it is resident in the person of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Those who are in Christ Jesus walking according to the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, are walking also in the principle of resurrection life. The other part of that is that we are no longer walking in the principles and laws of sin and death. As faith is the inverse of fear and unbelief, so resurrection life is the inverse of death. It is that which rises up and unseats death. We see this truth in Romans 8:10-11,
“And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Even now are we experiencing resurrection life in us as we are being transformed from death to life in Christ Jesus. There is a spiritual principle of life at work in us that is powerful and life giving. It is greater than death itself. Death obviously is still having it’s time and place even among the most spiritual of men, but under the direction of the Almighty even the powerful enemy of death must bow to the resurrection life of Christ. Even death could not hold Him in the grave. The destiny of our walk is to know death to that man of sin in our former nature. That death to self is bringing us into the resurrection life of Christ Jesus. Hebrews 2:14 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” We see then that power of death is held in the devil’s hands. Jesus dealt satan a deathblow at the cross through His death. What we must grasp is through that principle of death to sin and self there arises the Spirit of Life. The crushed grapes yield the wine. The seed that is planted and dies, gives way to the life within in it. What Christ has done as the head, He will accomplish through the body. In Philippians 3:10-11 the apostle Paul declares, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (or more literally, “out of the dead”).” Christ is at work in us today to deliver us out of the power of sin and death that still is at work in our mortal bodies. He is the Life Force within us. The fellowship with His sufferings and the identification with His death are made more and more real to us the closer we walk with Him. But the death that works in us is giving place to life, His resurrection life that is also at work in us. It has the power to quicken and give life even to our mortal bodies. We see it in a measure now, but soon without measure in those who are the partakers of the first resurrection. In that first resurrection are those who rule and reign in Christ. Revelations 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” As Paul goes on to say in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Pursue and lay hold of His Resurrection Life.
April 17, 2017
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Peace of God
We can’t say that just because we are Christians we don’t have problems and struggles. The Lord promises to always be with us, but He doesn’t promise that we won’t have many trials and hardships on our journey. What we truly need we already have in Christ Jesus. That is hard for us to reason when perhaps our physical circumstances are so dire.
We have often used the analogy that gold ore is not gold in its purest state. It is mixed with much dross and impurities. It is the crushing, the fire and the smith that smelts the gold, brings it into purity, then shapes it into vessels of honor. What suffers in the process is our flesh and too often we identify our flesh with our life when it no longer is.
Such a key part of our faith is the confidence and the knowing of who we are in Christ Jesus. If we don’t have a revelation of that we are always going to be panicking in the storm. We can so quickly lose sight of who is in the boat with us, because of the raging torrents that surround us. The peace of God comes in the security of knowing that your life is hid in Him. It positions us as Ephesians 2:6-7 says, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” You see, we are in Christ in heavenly realms. What we possess and will experience in Christ Jesus is beyond compare to anything this world can offer. Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The peace we possess is the rest that God is in charge of our lives if we have surrendered and relinquished our will to Him.
What is the first thing the Word tells us to do when we have a need? “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.” Joy over and over and over again in your God and all that He is and that He has provided for you in Christ Jesus. Your salvation is your peace, because it is the presence and manifestation of God in all aspects of your life. One definition of the peace from the Greek word “eirene” says, “of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” What God has given in us in times of unbearable hardship is His grace. He is what we cannot be. Our peace is in knowing that He is, whatever our need. Whatever our circumstance our peace is in His will and purpose. He says to make our needs known to Him through supplication and prayer. Don’t become anxious or distraught about anything. God is at work in ways that we can not see. “Cast all of your cares upon Him for He cares for you.” When you have prayed and made your request known, then begin to worship and thank Him for His answer. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t seen it yet. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. Rest in that you know that God is working in your behalf. Allow His peace to give tranquility to your soul. Don’t allow your heart to be troubled about many things, but rather choose to sit at the feet of Jesus. He will give you rest.
April 14, 2017
Discouraged but not Forsaken
Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up [and] possess [it], as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
How are you doing today as you run the race of faith? Are you running with the wind in your sails or are you just floating like a sailboat without a breeze? Are you encouraged and built up in your faith or are you tired, weary and feeling defeated? Where are you at in your relationship with Christ today? Perhaps you are where you want to be and growing daily in your faith and obedience to Christ. That is where we would all like to be, but in reality you may be floundering, experiencing some failures and defeats or dealing with issues that you don’t have the answers for.
Hopefully, what we have learned so far is that our relationship with the Father, along with His love and desire towards us, doesn’t ride on the coattails of our emotional ups and downs. It isn’t our feelings that dictate our walk and relationship with the Father; it is our faith and confidence in His Word. The Father is constant in His love for us, even when we fall flat on our face or back into sin. The wonderful thing about the Lord is even though he loves us the way we are; He loves us too much to leave us that away. There are times we hate ourselves; all we can see is the failure, the weakness, the sin and how helpless we feel to change it. What we do know is that all of our self-pity and defeatism will never allow our life to change. The enemy has us right where he wants us, in the throes of defeat. Perhaps you have been experiencing the dealings of the Lord in your life and His discipline has been upon you. That should be an encouragement to you, because you know He is dealing with you as His son or His daughter. Don’t allow discouragement to come in and cause you to give up. There will be times of discouragement where you are tempted to want to give up.
God loves us, even in the mess we are in. God has great things for us and great things He wants to accomplish through us. Hebrews 12:12-15 says, “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” Our greatest failure is not that we have messed up it is when we give up. Life is a series of battles and we aren’t going to win them all, but our victory is in keeping our eyes upon Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith. We have to keep coming back on our knees and pouring out our heart and soul to Him. He is what we can’t be in ourselves. Lest we forget who we are and what we are, we are a new creation that bears the name of Christ. Let us quit looking at what we have been and where we have come from and start looking at what we are going to be and where we are headed too. Our identification, our purpose and our reason for living must always be centered in Christ. When we allow that to be robbed from us, we become the whipping boy for the devil and he will flat beat you up until you feel like a worthless nothing. Let faith arise in our hearts. Let us believe what the Lord and His Word says about us, “that we are the righteousness of Christ”, that we are, “more than conquers through Christ that loved us” and that “He has raised us up together and made us to sit together in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.”
If the enemy has you in the dungeon of despair and discouragement today, sucking rocks and the putrid filth of his accusations and condemnations, then it is time to lift up your head and look to where your salvation comes from. It is time to get up and walk out of that prison cell. Those bars can’t hold you. Jesus has already unlocked the door. He has never stopped loving you and all He is waiting for and desiring is for you to come back to Him. Make the Lord your refuge, your mighty fortress and your strong deliverer. He is and always will be your salvation, your hope and your strong tower. “…for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5).
April 13, 2017
In the Beginning
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
“In the beginning, God…” Think back to that day when God started a new beginning in you. Do you remember the day when God said “let their be light in the midst of your soul” and you agreed and said yes. Do you remember how He took you when you were formless, void and dwelling in darkness and He caused the light of Jesus Christ to dawn upon your soul? The Lord began a new day in you that separated light and darkness.
John picks up on this theme in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Christ is the express Word of God, the expression of all of creation, the breath of God’s own life, the light of His glory and countenance. Christ is that light of the world and the author of life to all of its inhabitance. The light is never a part of the darkness, but rather it always dispels darkness relative to the intensity with which it is present. Darkness cannot comprehend light because it is contrary and opposite in nature to light. Isn’t it only God’s grace and the opening of our understanding by His Spirit that we begin to comprehend the Light of the World? Every candle has a wick, but until it is lit, it remains an object of darkness. Hearing the Word of God, coupled with a quickening of understanding by the Holy Spirit gave us the empowerment to light the candle of faith that burns within our hearts. This light of faith, that flickers and burns within us is of the same nature and characteristic as that which burns in the Light of the World. He has placed His light in us. He has called us to a new day and to walk in the light of the knowledge and revelation of God that He has imparted to us in the Word and through His manifest presence. When lights gather together they grow in intensity, greater dispelling the darkness and lighting the place with His glory. What’s more, is that now, as we walk and dwell in this light, we have fellowship with the author of light and life.
1 John 1:1, John carries on this theme of the beginning, “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, concerning the Word of life— 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Because we have embraced this life, John 1:12 – 13 tells us that now we have a right to become the sons of God, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” When you are born of God you are given the right to fellowship and commune with God. You are given the privilege and the mandate to live to the praise and glory of Him who now indwells you. You are given entrance and fellowship into His presence with others of like faith. From this beginning we become children of the day who walk in the light, as He is in the light. We become the living signposts, the neon lights that show and direct others to the author of light and life, so that they also might experience a new beginning. We have the fellowship and relationship with the Lord that it speaks of in 1John 1:5-10, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” When we embrace the day and choose to walk in the light, as He is in the light, then we live and dwell in the power and love of God’s forgiveness and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all our darkness and sin. We know that we have all had darkness and sin in our lives and in fact we are still struggling with its temptations, but as we continually turn our faces into the light and away from darkness, the power of the blood dispels the darkness with its light and life.
Christ is the beginning and the end, the first and the last and He wants to be that to us throughout all of our existence, both in this life and that which is to come. Continue on in the light of the good work that God began in you from your beginning. Bathe yourself continually in the light of His countenance and glory and that light wherewith He has lit our souls, let is so shine to be a light and a beginning for others.
April 12, 2017
The Crown of the Curse
27Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.
Let’s talk briefly about the crown of thorns that Jesus wore to the cross. We can readily understand through the Word the significance of the crucifixion of Christ and how our redemption was bought and our sins paid for through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. We also can grasp the truth that, “ by His stripes we were healed.” It was another aspect of suffering on the part of Jesus that brought healing to our mortal man. Sin, sickness, disease are all aspects of the curse Adam brought upon mankind, along with the thistles and thorns that come up to choke out the precious life giving seed. Genesis 3:17 –18 tells us, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.”
The crown of thorns represented another aspect of our salvation and redemption through Christ and what He suffered. Jesus died to free us from that Adamic curse and so He dealt with all of the aspects of that curse. Galatians 3:13-14 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit”. We can readily see through the Word how that Christ came to be the anti-type of Adam. What Adam accomplished in his disobedience to bring the curse upon man and sin into the world, Jesus Christ came to redeem man from that curse through His act of obedience to God. Romans5: 14 –18 explains it, “14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Jesus Christ’s act of obedience through His Passion deals with every aspect of the curse under which man has lived and is the way of salvation from it all. Our salvation isn’t just for our soul, it goes far beyond even that, to ultimately redeem and transform the whole man, spirit, soul and body.
We see thorns coming up in the waste place and in places where they can choke out the good seed. It must be like the unregenerate mind that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. It is seen in the religion and vain philosophies of men, the cares of life and the world, the imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. They are all of the things in life that divert our thinking and meditation from God and His Word. Isaiah 7:23-24 says, “23 In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels, there will be only briers and thorns. 24 Men will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns.” The thorns are what come in to choke out life and blessing. It is so like our minds that are the fields and the seed is what we plant in them to bring forth a fruitful harvest. Left unattended or given over to the natural order, thorns and thistle will come in to choke out the good seed. Jesus used this illustration in Matthew 13 when he gave the parable about the sower who went out scattering his seed. He explains about the conditions of the soil, or if you will, the state of men’s minds and attitudes. “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” When the disciples later questioned Jesus about what this meant, he told them in Matthew 13:22-23. “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Thorns are something we hate because we know that if they get into our skin they cause great discomfort and continually distract and divert our attention until they are dealt with and removed. That is the way satan is. He is that thorn continually diverting our attention from the Word and the life that it produces. The thorns continually want to choke out that life in us with all of the cares and worries of life. The crown of thorns represent the curse that robs our mind of the precious seed of God, thorns want to spring up and choke out the life in people. Ironically, we often mistake our crown of thorns for our crown of glory, because we are so diverted in our own accomplishments that we are missing the crown of righteousness. In truth, Christ bore our crown of shame that we might wear His crown of righteousness that He has for those that love Him. In 2 Timothy 4:8 the apostle Paul tells us, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Christ wore the crown of shame, the symbol of our curse, beaten down on His head with the rod of man’s religion and authority. He wore it that, in return, He might give us a renewed mind through which we might experience and lay hold of the transforming power of His mighty Word through in-working of His Spirit.
Some of us are still allowing the thorns to reign in our lives when Christ wants to impart to us the crown of His righteousness. We have been redeemed from the curse. By faith we must appropriate what Christ has so graciously and mercifully provided, but as in any garden, we must remove the weeds, the thistles and the thorns that still want to come in to rob and choke out the precious seed of Life.
April 11, 2017
The Sincere Milk of the Word
1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Today, those that read this will be at many different places of maturity in their walk with the Lord. Some may be young in the Lord and some may be Fathers in the faith. The Lord would take us back to our roots for a moment and remember that we were nurtured and nursed with the sincere milk of the Word in our beginnings. That “sincere” means guileless, such as in things unmixed, unadulterated and pure. Hopefully our faith has been built on a foundation of pure, unadulterated doctrine where we have the unshakable truths that are the basis for our growing into maturity. These are the moorings that anchor our souls to the Rock. They keep us through the storms of life and they are the cornerstones upon which everything else is built. Holding on to these truths is like returning to our first love in Christ. We had best not forget them and move away from them even though we don’t want to remain in that state of milk fed babies of the Word. Such is the state of many in the church world today who are content with their bottle once or twice a week of regurgitated Word from ministers that never move beyond a salvation type message. The majority of their congregation know little to nothing about feeding themselves in the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach and lead them into a deeper understanding and revelation of His truth. 1 John 2:27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” God never wants us to lose those moorings of the first principles of His Words, but He doesn’t want us to be content just to stay there either. God is an ever-dynamic river of truth moving and revealing Himself in ever greater truth and dimension. It doesn’t mean His truth changes, but it does expand and the Holy Spirit is what is imparting that expanding truth to us. Church history is lined with denominations who got a hold of a truth of God then built a doctrine, church and school around it and remained camped there as the river of God’s truth moved on to reveal more of His unfolding Kingdom.
I have set under teaching where the man talked about having personal revelation of the Spirit that was not always consistent with the Word of God. That is false teaching. God will never give revelation that is in contradiction to His written Word. He gave us that Word so that we wouldn’t be moved by every wind of doctrine. Just as a flower grows from a bulb by means of a sprout, then it adds a bud and the bud finally blossom into a beautiful flower unfolding the potential that was in that bulb. God’s word is growing up in us constantly unfolding new dimensions of truth that are challenging us and taking us to greater depths in our walk and experience with Him.
The Lord has given us the sincere milk of the Word; the principle tenants of our faith to become rooted and established Him. Hebrews 5:12 speaks of the balance when it says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” It also says the reason we are still on milk is that we are dull of hearing. Prayer, meditation and study of the Word will allow the Holy Spirit opportunity to begin to speak into our hearts more of the meat and substance of His Word. We will develop a spiritual ear to hear as we are attentive and obedient to what He is showing us. God is not just running a nursery school for children that never want to grow up. He is maturing us into His sons, his royal priesthood to set creation free in its due season.
Romans 8:19 says that, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” Jesus is the prototype and firstfuits of what God is bringing His people into. He is not doing that with infants, but with mature saints of God. Let us grow up continually in the grace and knowledge of Him.