Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2nd, 2017

The Living One

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever!”  Rev. 1:18

Jesus lives!  He declares that He was dead but was resurrected and is alive now and forevermore!  We find a similar description in Rev. 2:8, where Jesus announces Himself as the First and Last, who was dead and came to life.  It was a perfect description of the Resurrected Savior, speaking to a local church undergoing great persecution at Smyrna.  The church may have felt poor, crushed under the weight of accusation, and as if it was dying.  Jesus spoke to them as the one who was dead and came back to life.  He reassured the church that He was the Fist and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End!  This name was chosen to bring about comfort and consolation to a people being persecuted for their faith. 

We find another reference to this descriptive name in Rom. 6:8-9: “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more.  Death no longer has dominion over Him.”

That we might have a full understanding of the whole counsel of God’s word, and live according to the full gospel.  So many believers live as if Jesus is dead or dormant.  He is alive, according to the writings and testimonies of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  If death no longer has dominion over Him, and we are “in Him”, then death no longer has dominion over us!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 1st, 2017

An Excellent Spirit

“Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel. Whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”  Dan. 5:12

Daniel had an “excellent spirit.”   The word in Aramaic for excellent is “yattiyr” and means: pre-eminent; surpassing; extreme; and extraordinary.  This describes the spirit of Daniel.  All that he had invested in a God-filled life had resulted in this spirit. 

If we look back to chapter one of Daniel, we find that the king of Babylon had Daniel and his friends in training for three years.  Included was daily provision from the king’s table.  Daniel was determined to not defile himself with what came from the king’s table, neither food nor drink.  He later went on to request eating vegetables and drink water for ten days.

If we yearn for an excellent spirit, we might ask ourselves what we are eating.  What table are we eating from?  What are we doing with this vessel we have been given?  What are we consuming?

The answers may prove beneficial, for what we consume affects directly what we produce.  What we take in reflects what we give out, whether it is thoughts, words, or actions.  Lord, help us to have the discipline needed in our lives to develop an excellent spirit for Your glory.

Friday, June 30, 2017

June 30th, 2017

Our New Family

“When Jesus saw His mother standing there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son’ and to the disciple, ‘here is your mother.”  John 19:26-27

The gospel of John 19:26-27 gives us the third saying of Jesus.  He speaks words of affection and hope to a woman and a man – Mary, his mother, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.  He addressed the woman who had remained, and the man who had returned, after abandoning Jesus.  Jesus spoke these words to them: “Woman, here is your son” and to John He spoke, “Here is your mother.”
As Jesus was departing, He was arranging the relationship of those who would remain.  His words of love and affection showed His concern for them, and yes, for us.  Christ took care of our spiritual family as He suffered on that cross.  He was establishing the church – the body of Christ, before He died.  He pointed the woman and the man to each other, so they would be united and connected through Christ, to one another.  It was the church, us here today, drawn by the power of God to care for one another, honor one another, prefer one another. As Jesus was demonstrating love by laying down His life for His friends – for us – He honored and preferred us.
 Our spiritual family was placed in God’s divine order.  It was a beautiful portrait of devotion from the sinless Son of God.  The provisions of the will and testament were being secured before Jesus breathed His last breath.  He was setting the church in order.  He was instructing the mother and the apostle – the unrelated – that they would be connected.  This was done for us, so that we might, as strangers, be united and connected in Christ – that we might care for each other in a healthy, obedient way – bearing one another’s burdens while each of us carries our own load. He wanted us to know that we are never alone because of Him.  We are part of God’s family and we are related, we are forever connected, because of Jesus. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

June 29th, 2017

Call to Me

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”  Jer. 33:3

We come to God with our lists, our petitions, and our intercession.  We talk and talk, until we finish the list.  How often do we approach our Father and ask Him, “God, what is on Your heart today?  What is Your heating beating for?  Is Your heart broken over someone, or something?  Father, please let me know Your heart today, even when it hurts.  What is important today to You, that I can pray for?  Father, I am calling out to You today to show me great and mighty things I do not know.  Let me know Your heart, God.”

God will be faithful to reveal His heart, His will to us.  He will show us what to pray.  He will show us how to pray.  He will lead us into agreement with Him in prayer.  Agreement with God generates power! 

To call is a verbal message intended for a specific audience – and in prayer that audience is God.  It can be prophetic in nature as a message given to a person.  It also can be prolonged or continuous calling.  We call out to God.  As He reveals His mysteries to us, we then call those revealed mysteries out (declare or proclaim) to whomever or wherever He has chosen. Sometimes we call out His heart in prayer.  Other times we will call out His revealed heart in a word of knowledge or in an instruction.  We call out to God and as He tells us things we do not know, we can then in turn pray those back to Him.  How wonderful it is to call upon the Lord!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June 28th, 2017

A New Righteousness

“Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”  Rom. 10:4

The law, given by God to Moses for Israel, pointed to Jesus the Messiah.  The law is good; in fact, Paul writes that is it “holy.”  The law served one of its purposes in bringing attention to sin, as shown by the Ten Commandments.  It is much like telling a child not to touch the hot burner on a stove.  Thought it is important to instruct the child, now it had drawn the child’s attention to the hot burner on the stove.  Many children touch it and get a burn.

Jesus Christ came to complete and fulfill the law to bring a new kind of righteousness.  Paul was writing in Romans 10 about Israel seeking to establish its own righteousness, as it did not know God’s righteousness.  Christ came to fulfill the law and offer this new righteousness of God in Him.  And it was available to everyone who believed.  It was no longer limited to Israel.  This righteousness was by faith.

Paul will continue this theme in Romans, writing about the spirit of the law.  There is nothing wrong with telling our children to not touch the hot burner on the stove.  It also is important to tell them to look to Jesus.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 27th, 2017

Waiting for God

“Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”  Micah 7:7

Have you ever felt like you have been in God’s waiting room?  It can be a hospital, police station, funeral home, or doctor’s office.  It can in your own home.  You can spend day after day, waiting on God.  Waiting for a word, a sign, something.

Micah strikes the chord of hope with his words, “I will look to the Lord; I will wait for God; my God will hear me.”  There is a three-fold process in this.  First, he indicates he will look to the Lord.  He will use his free will to make an important choice: look to the One who can be to the solution, rather than focusing on the problem.  This is a powerful instruction for us as we face life’s challenges.  Where we do fix our attention?  If we are so wrapped up in the dilemma, we may miss the Lord.

Second, he states he will wait for God, the God of his salvation.  The word wait in Hebrew is ‘yachal” and is often translated in Scripture as hope.  The first use of this Hebrew word is in reference to Noah, who “waited” seven days before sending out the dove a second time, after the flood.  Those seven days may have felt like seven decades.  We are being given another piece of wisdom here – that as we continue to focus on the Lord, we do so with an expectation that God will do something.  We wait with hope.  We may wait 10 or 20 years.  We wait with hope – hope in the Lord, the God of our salvation.

Finally, Micah writes that he is confident his God will hear him.  This is what we hold onto as we wait, hope and look to the Lord.  He will hear us.  We trust in His response.  We trust in the timing of His response.    Are you waiting?  Look to Jesus, wait for God; He will hear you.

Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26th, 2017

Kingdom Strength

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Cor. 12:10
Strength and power is perfected in weakness.  This is one of paradoxes of truth.  Paul writes that three times he asked for the thorn in his flesh to be removed.  The Lord’s response was that His strength was made perfect in weakness.  It is like saying that surrender is victory.  The confession of our reliance and sheer dependence upon God is the admission of our weakness and need for Him; Him and all He has to offer us.
Jesus is, of course, our perfect example.  2 Cor. 13:4 states, “though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God.”  Imagine how it must have looked to the crowd as Jesus went to the cross.  Weakness, humiliation, defeat – these are not the signs of a Messiah.  Look again at the cross.  Strength and power is perfected in weakness.  A veil was torn, graves flung open, and a new creation began.  It commenced in the moment of weakness.
The crucifixion became the glorification.  Weakness was turned to strength.  Paul writes, “For we are also weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.”  2 Cor. 13:4.  We come with our flaws, our limitations, our weaknesses.  The Lord is our strength.