HE TASTED DEATH

August 26, 2016

Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. 

The gospel is filled with unspeakable and unsearchable mysteries. Looking at the death of Jesus is like that, it is filled with layers of revelation and blessing. Recently I was reading THE HOLIEST OF ALL by Andrew Murray and was floored by the revelation about Christ’s death. He died to lead us into another way, a new and living way, to live our lives. His death destroyed the power of sin which kept all of us under the power of the enemy. His death brought us liberation from the devil’s domain. Secondly, He showed us how to access this new and living way; it is the way of the cross. Learning to die to our fleshly desires opens up a brand new world of life for us. Finally, Jesus suffered and died to become our Heavenly High Priest. Wow! The Son of God and the Son of Man representing me before the Father. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray and his commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews. 
“The Epistle is about to expound to us the great mystery, why the Son of God was made a little lower than the angels. It was that, by the grace of God, He might taste death for every man, and so open up again the entrance into God’s presence and favor. The necessity and meaning of His sufferings and death it will present to us in three different aspects. The first, that in suffering and death Christ Himself must needs be made perfect, so that as our Leader He might open up to us the path of perfection, and prepare that new nature, that new way of living, in which we are to be led to glory. The second, that through death, making propitiation for sin, He might destroy the devil, with his power of death, and give us a perfect deliverance from all fear of it. And the third, that in what He suffered, He might be made a merciful and faithful High Priest, able to secure our perfect confidence, and to give us the succor we need.”
We have a new way, a superior way to live our lives now. We have access into the holiest of all, the very presence of God, in our daily lives. He has poured out His blood to clear the way, lived a life of suffering to show us the way, and ever lives as our Heavenly Intercessor to call us into the way. LET US DRAW NEAR!!!

PICK UP THE CROSS

August 25, 2016

Heb. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. 

The cross has never been a popular message. When Jesus spoke about it to Peter, Peter rebuked the Lord; not a very good idea. Peter had no understanding, at that point, of why Jesus really came. It wasn’t until after His death that these things began to be more clear. The message of the cross really has a two-fold meaning for us. Jesus died for our sins and Jesus taught us how to die to sin. The first purpose of the cross is how we begin our Christian faith. We look to Christ, high and lifted up at Calvary, and by faith in His sacrificial death we are born again. This is the only way for us to discover God. Once this experience opens up our eyes we begin to see the second function of the cross. Jesus said it like this in Matt. 16:24 “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me”. We are asked to die daily to this life as we follow Jesus in this new way of life. Here is how Andrew Murray describes it. 
“And what was the meaning of this death? And wherein lies its efficacy? In Scripture there is a twofold aspect in which the death of Christ, as our Head, is set before us. The one is that He died for sin, bearing its curse, and suffering death as God’s righteous judgment on account of it . His death opened up the way to God for us. It did for us what we cannot and need not do; it wrought out a finished salvation, which we have but to accept and repose upon. According to the other aspect, He died to sin. His death was a proof of His resistance to sin and its temptation, of His readiness rather to give up life than yield to sin; a proof that there is no way of being entirely free from the flesh and its connection with sin, but by yielding the old life to death, in order to receive afresh and direct from God a life entirely new.”
This word about the cross can only be received by faith. Just as one day you saw in a moment that Christ died for your sins, the Spirit of the Lord will open your eyes to the blessing of picking up the cross of Jesus. It is in bearing His reproach that we enter in to the joy of the Lord in this life. 

DRIFTING AWAY

August 24, 2016

Heb. 2:1 ¶ Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 

Christians that are not familiar with the anointing and the power of His presence have often questioned us about the reason for prayer lines. They think that the initial filling with the Spirit is sufficient. Actually it’s not. Of course the problem is not with the Holy Spirit and His empowerment, it rests with us. Let’s face it, we leak. Dealing with all the carnal situations in the world wears on all of us, those things tend to spring holes in us on a consistent basis. 

In today’s verse the word drift away has multiple shades of meaning. One of the things it communicates to us is that very fact; Christians leak. Think of it like this, the anointing is tangible. It can be carried by an individual or even become resident in their house or in their clothes. If there is not a continual means of being filled with God we stand the risk of drifting away. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse. 
“Lest at any time we should let them slip? “Lest at any time we should leak out.” This is a metaphor taken from unstanch vessels; the staves not being close together, the fluid put into them leaks through the chinks and crevices. Superficial hearers lose the benefit of the word preached, as the unseasoned vessel does its fluid; nor can any one hear to the saving of his soul, unless he give most earnest heed, which he will not do unless he consider the dignity of the speaker, the importance of the subject, and the absolute necessity of the salvation of his soul. St. Chrysostom renders it lest we perish, lest we fall away.”
We live in a very dangerous world. The temptations and distractions are relentless. There is pressure on all of us to be conformed to the image and lifestyle of this world Paul talked about the importance of renewal to keep us from this conformity. Rom.12:2 Phillips, ” Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”

Here is the same verse from ESV “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,”

So get yourself in an atmosphere to be filled consistently, leakage is unavoidable, we definitely don’t want to drift away. 

JOURNEY OF FAITH

August 23, 2016

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
Heb.11:9
To someone who has never experienced the supernatural, faith is irrelevant, in other words it has nothing to do with real life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Faith is our connection to the unseen world, the real world. Faith perceives as real the things that are ideas or beliefs to someone else. Abraham experienced faith and left his comfort zone to wander in a hostile and unknown world. Noah was touched by faith and built a huge boat, his faith made him a laughing stock but by it he saved the world. Paul walked in faith and opened the pagan, gentile world to the gospel; western civilization has never been the same. The pilgrims left Europe by faith in hope of a better land, I for one am so glad they did. Martin Luther’s world exploded when his faith was awakened, we are still seeing the ramifications today. Here are some thoughts from Luther on how we are changed by faith.
“Faith changes people. It makes them see everything in a new light. Their ears hear, their eyes see, and their hearts feel something completely different from what everyone else perceives. Faith is living and powerful. It doesn’t float around in the heart like a goose on the water. Rather, it’s like water that’s been heated. After heating, the water is different. It’s still water, but it’s warm. The same thing happens when the Holy Spirit gives us faith. Faith transforms the mind and attitudes. It creates an entirely new person. Faith changes the heart and mind. Reason tends to concentrate on what is present—the here and now. Faith concerns itself with things that are intangible and, contrary to reason, regards them as actually being present. Most people concern themselves with what they can see, touch, and handle rather than listening to God’s Word.”
Have you been touched by this God kind of faith? My first awakening of faith came from just remembering a scripture I had learned in Sunday School as a child, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except by Me’. In a moment of time this scripture made me aware of another whole world. This was the beginning of my journey of faith. 

“MOUNTAIN OF SPICES”

August 22, 2016

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

 “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.” Song of Solomon 8:14

This past week Louisiana folks have seen the images or experienced loss from yet another flood. Last month we moved into our home from the March flood and last week watched our little river overflow into the property. My subconscious began to play games with me designing a spilt level house, at the same time guilt that I was spared, then sadness over other’s loss. I am thankful that Christ’s presence prevails in the storm and washed away those thoughts!

It is in times like these we can say, “MAKE HASTE!” Somewhere in the suddenlies of life, remember the spices flow out of the hard times. All my gutting, rebuilding and living like weirdos made me all the more yell—“make haste” this place is not my home! 

Matthew Henry says, “The heavens, those high mountains of sweet spices, must contain Christ, till the times come, when every eye shall see him, in all the glory of the better world. True believers as they are looking for, so they are hastening to the coming of that day of the Lord. Let every Christian endeavor to perform the duties of his station, that men may see his good works, and glorify his heavenly Father. Continuing earnest in prayer for what we want, our thanksgivings will abound, and our joy will be full; our souls will be enriched, and our labors prospered. We shall be enabled to look forward to death and judgment without fear. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” 
How are you my friend when the storms of life hit you suddenly and you see all that you’ve had wash away in a moment? I can only pray-Make haste to the mountain of spices where Christ will carry you through. 

Spurgeon shares out of his storms, “It is the longing of a soul, then, not for salvation, and not even for the certainty of salvation, but for the enjoyment of present fellowship with him who is her soul’s life, her soul’s all. The heart is panting to be brought once more under the apple tree; to feel once again his “left hand under her head, while his right hand doth embrace her.” She has known, in days past, what it is to be brought into his banqueting-house, and to see the banner of love waved over her, and she therefore crieth to have love visits renewed. It is a panting after communion. Gracious hours, my dear friends, are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for mark you, when they are not near to Christ, they lose their peace. The nearer to Jesus, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; and the further from Jesus, the nearer to that troubled sea which images the continual unrest of the wicked. The Christian without fellowship with Christ loses all his life and energy; he is like a dead thing. Though saved, he lies like a lumpish log—

SHOCKING REJECTION 2

August 21, 2016

Rom. 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. 

This is one of those hard to comprehend passages. Paul says he would suffer eternity in hell if it could be given in exchange for the salvation of the Jews (of course that is impossible). Why was Paul so passionate? It had something to do with his people’s shocking rejection of the blessings of being God’s people. Yesterday we spoke about their rejection of their adoption as sons and daughters, the blessing of the glory of God’s presence, and the benefit of being God’s covenant people. Paul goes on to describe how they also snuffed at the place of the law in their daily lives. As Christians who are saved by grace we cannot afford to disrespect God’s law. We are not justified by our observance of the law but the law is actually written on our hearts. Rather than saying that grace gives us a free pass to live as we please, we recognize that Christ in us enables us to live a holy life that brings glory to God. Paul also said that the Jewish people lost their sense of majesty in their worship. It seems that it had deteriorated into formalism rather than the passionate worship that lives in His presence. Too often Christians can also lose that sense of majesty. Worship is treated as just preparation or even just part of the warm up waiting for the teaching. Actually, worship is the main event, the act of enjoying God. Finally, the people of God had lost their trust in the promises of God. We too have be given thousands of promises from the Lord that cover every aspect of our lives. God’s promises are like anchors that hold us fast in the midst of the storms we often face. 
These six blessings that we have covered these last two days are critical for us to embrace in our walk with the Lord. The Jews snuffed at these blessings and have suffered the consequences. We should run under the protection of His covenant blessing, our very existence depends on it. 

SHOCKING REJECTION

August 20, 2016

Rom. 9:3-5 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

This is quite a shocking statement from Paul; he actually says he would give his eternity with God as an exchange for the conversion of Israel. He continues to describe the Jews and their lack of appreciation for the blessing that was on their nation as the people of God. His list of the blessings that were treated as insignificant are actually quite disturbing, they are strangely familiar to the common attitudes in the modern church. 

First, Paul says they did not appreciate their adoption. The nation of Israel had been chosen by the Lord to be adopted into God’s family. It’s hard to think of a greater honor. Today, Christians are the adopted sons and daughters of God. He has sent the Spirit of adoption into our hearts. Rather than appreciating this incredible blessing, we often would rather look and act like the rest of the pagan world. Next, the Jews took the Glory, the manifest presence of God, as unimportant. The local church is now intended to be the place where the Glory of the Lord is on display. This is the reason the church exists, to display God’s glory. Too often this is not acknowledged and even treated as some sort of fringe fanaticism. Paul continued to say that the Covenants were not appreciated. The Lord made a covenant with the people of Israel starting with their father Abraham. The Jews disrespected that covenant and treated it as insignificant. Today, we have received a new and better covenant established by the blood of the Son of God. Shockingly, this blood sacrifice, the New Testament of Jesus Christ is often treated with disrespect by the church and the blood is often ignored because of its offensive nature. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. These benefits are the very heart of our faith and were the very heart of the Jewish heritage. Rather than shunning these benefits we should embrace and relish our special blessings that belong to us. 
To be continued….

HE IS NOT SILENT

August 19, 2016

Heb1:1,2 – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…

I was born again in August of 1973, I am celebrating 43 years of my Christian faith this month. When I accepted Christ into my life I had been on a spiritual journey. This journey had led me from the Divine Light Mission, to the Baha’i Faith, and even to the Krishna temple. I was searching for something real, something more than just a creed. The search ended suddenly and dramatically one night at the lakefront in New Orleans. I prayed to receive Christ and my life was totally changed. It wasn’t that I took on a new set of beliefs or embraced a new creed, Christ actually came into my life. He changed me from the inside. He changed my heart and begin to speak to me from the inside. My Bible was brand new, church was brand new, worship was brand new, and I was brand new. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on God speaking through His Son. 
“It is through this Son, God speaks to us. Not through the words of the Son only, for they too are human words, and may, just like the inspired words of the prophets, bring in but little profit. It is through the Son—the living, mighty, divine Son, direct—that God speaks: it is only in direct living contact with the Son that the words can profit. And the Son, not as we superficially think of Him, but the real divine Son as God has revealed Him, known and worshipped and waited on as the outshining of the divine glory,—it is this Son of God, entering into our heart and dwelling there, in whom God will speak to us, and in whom we shall be brought nigh to God. When Christ reveals the Father, it is not to the mind, to give us new thoughts about Him, but in the heart and life, so that we know and experience the power in which God can dwell and work in man, restoring him to the enjoyment of that blessed fellowship for which he was created, and which he lost by the fall. The great work of God in heaven the chief thought and longing of His heart is, in His Son, to reach your heart and speak to you.”
That is the most amazing thing in Christianity to me. The personal nature of this faith, God speaks through His Son. God speaks to me through His Son.  

THE BEAUTIFUL NAME

August 18, 2016

Psa. 91:14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
 I will set him on high, because he has known My NAME. 
Sometimes when I am flying in a plane I wonder about what is going on in the towns and villages below. Flying over East Africa I have wondered about the tribal villages and the challenges those folks would face on a daily basis. What was it like to live in a relatively primitive world just struggling for food and water from day to day? Then there was the urban life of the major cities in America, flying at 35000 feet you wonder what kinds of problems are unfolding in the lives below? Whether you live in a village, the inner city, or on a farm out in the country all of us have drama, normally on a daily basis. Today’s verse can give us another perspective; how to be in the world but unaffected by the chaos that often surrounds us. This verse says that those who know His Name will be set on high. Knowing His Name is describing a real relationship with God. It is not just knowing the magic name or formula to chant, it is talking about a living relationship with a living God. Here’s how McClaren describes this powerful promise.
 “We have another great promise… ‘I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.’ That is more than lifting a man up above the reach of the storms of life by means of any external deliverance. There is a better thing than that—namely, that our whole inward life be lived loftily. If it is true of us that we know His name, then our lives are ‘hid with Christ in God,’ and far below our feet will be all the riot of earth and its noise and tumult and change. We shall live serene and uplifted lives on the mount, if we know His name and have bound ourselves to Him, and the troubles and cares and changes and duties and joys of this present will be away down below us, like the lowly cottages in some poor village, seen from the mountain top, the squalor out of sight, the magnitude diminished, the noise and tumult dimmed to a mere murmur that interrupts not the sacred silence of the lofty peak where we dwell with God.”
 There may be a riot going on all around you (there probably is). In this place of intimacy, knowing the beauty of His name, we are shielded. The stuff can’t even touch us. 

THE GLORY OF THE SON

August 17, 2016

Heb.1:1,2 – God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, Hath at the end of these days spoken onto us in his Son.

Human beings are amazing creatures. Our whole make-up is incredibly complex. God Himself says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Because of the uniqueness that comes from being human we experience an insatiable hunger for satisfaction. Most can’t really put their finger on it but there is a distinct longing for something outside of ourselves to complete us. Many think that their quest will be over if they can only meet that perfect person to make them complete. The inevitable result is disappointment. Another person can never complete us. We were created to be completed only in the presence of God Himself. The frustrating dilemma we find ourselves in, our sins have separated us from the Lord. That is why the Lord became a human. In Christ we see the glory of the Lord. Seeing and knowing Him finally brings us to that place of rest we have looked for all our lives. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on today’s verses.  
“God hath spoken! The magnificent portal by which we enter into the temple in which God is to reveal His glory to us! We are at once brought into the presence of God Himself. The one object of the Epistle is to lead us to God, to reveal God, to bring us into contact with Himself. Man was created for God. Sin separated from God. Man feels his need, and seeks for God. This Epistle comes with the gospel message of redemption, to teach us where and how to find God. Let all who thirst for God, for the living God, draw nigh and listen.”
The book of Hebrews opens up this new kind of life made available to us in Christ. Only this life behind the veil can complete us. When Christ was on earth as a man the glory of God was among us cloaked by His humanity. Today, the veil has been taken away. The glory of the Lord is clearly seen because of His death, burial, resurrection and Ascension to the right hand of the Father. All our unrealized expectations are finally met, they are realized in the glory of the Son. 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 458 other followers