Know or no?

To whom do we hold esteem?

A friend of mine and I were discussing some things over a breakfast yesterday and his observations set me on a course of thought that I thought I would share with you. My wife has a cousin who worked for the State Department some time back. He was privileged to meet and get to know some very important people of our time, presidents, ambassadors, heads of state, and many others. I have always thought that must have been an exciting time in his life, by the nature of his job in providing security for them, he got to know some of them. Wouldn’t that be something, if your job allowed you to rub shoulders with some of the movers and shakers of our time? Apart from the danger, I imagine it would be an exciting time in anyone’s life. If he were to run into them someday, they would undoubtedly remember him.

There seems to be inherent in all of us, at least to some degree, a desire to be familiar with those that we and others hold in high esteem. It is by association that we elevate ourselves, in the minds of others, to a higher degree than we could have otherwise achieved on our own. We like to be thought of as connected to these individuals. While the fame is fleeting, it temporarily gives us a sense of satisfaction to be held in esteem by others. Mind you this isn’t the only motivation, in the case of my wife’s cousin, I believe his motivation stemmed more from a desire to serve others in an honorable service to our country and its’ leaders.

This morning I am considering the King of the universe, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom to know is life eternal. Do you know Him? I hope so, yet how well do you know Him? There are many who claim to know Him, yet the Bible indicates that there are many false professors, those who claim to know Him, but don’t. There are those who simply claim to know Him by association, they may attend a church, participate in activities that may be honorable, and yet they don’t know Him personally. The question you must ask is, does He know me? That delineates those who truly know Him.

Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

        The Lord is good,

a stronghold in the day of trouble;

        he knows those who take refuge in him.

Psalm 1:6 (ESV)

        for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

John 10:14 (ESV)

14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

1 Corinthians 8:3 (ESV)

But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

2 Timothy 2:19 (ESV)

19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

Claiming to know someone is only as good as the acknowledgement of the person claiming to be known. How do I know this?

Matthew 7:21–23 (ESV)

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

When we place ourselves in that position of subjection to Him, acknowledging our sin and in repenting of it, confessing Jesus as Lord, that’s when we get to know Him, that’s when He gets to know us. It’s so much better for Him to know us, then for us to claim to know Him if we have never submitted to Him. Fortunately, He wants to know us, and has provided the means for us to do just that. Do you know Him, more importantly, does He know you?

Know, or no…?

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The Intrinsic Mystery, Linking Man & Earth

 

 

In reading the account of creation, we are struck with some mysteries, mysteries man has puzzled over for since time began. What is it that God has revealed to us? In the beginning God. Certainly, we see, in the beginning, God was already there. He had no beginning, and has no end. He is eternal. In the beginning He created, out of nothing, the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. Here we see the creation, let me challenge you to visualize this. Close your eyes and tell me what this looks like, without form and void. Perhaps you visualize the sphere of earth in the deep with no defining features. But is not a sphere a form? Oh, I know many might say it only refers to the external features it had, prior to it being finished, and that is true, but perhaps there is more to it. At the same time, I have trouble wrapping my mind around what it looked like at this point in time. How do you create something without a form? The only things I see that might not have form is perhaps, ideas, concepts, i.e. non-material things. Those wouldn’t apply here.

Isaiah 48:13 (ESV)

    13     My hand laid the foundation of the earth,

and my right hand spread out the heavens;

        when I call to them,

they stand forth together.

 

Jeremiah 33:2 (ESV)

“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name:

We see here God not only created the earth, He also formed it. Forming it had to have occurred after verse 2 of the book of Genesis chapter 1. At this point I’ll switch gears and come back to this later.


Genesis 1:27 (ESV)

    27     So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

Genesis 2:7 (ESV)

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Do you see how intrinsically linked man is with the earth, man was formed out of the dust of the earth. Not only was he created, he was also formed. As I will allude to later, man may be more intrinsically linked to the earth than previously thought.

2 Peter 3:5 (ESV)

For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.

How many of you have ever stirred a teaspoon of sugar in a glass of water, and then observe the resulting mixture? Tell me, what form does the sugar have? Can you see it? Or is it without form and void? Is it possible the earth was created dissolved, contained in a formless mass in the Deep which contained all the elements necessary for the earth? Is there anything new under the sun?

2 Peter 3:10–12 (ESV)

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

There is one word in relation to what we are discussing that I want you to take note of, “dissolved

luō (λύω , (3089)), to loosen, especially by way of deliverance, sometimes has the meaning of breaking, destructively, e.g., of breaking commandments, not only infringing them, but loosing the force of them, rendering them not binding. λύω — loosen; unbind; unfasten (33×) +NT +AF

There is a time coming, when He will loosen, unbind, and unfasten the entire cosmos, doesn’t it indicate that at one time He had to tighten, bind, and fasten it? Earlier I mentioned that we were intrinsically linked to the earth, formed out of its’ dust. Let’s look momentarily at how we are formed, all of us as we know it today.

Psalm 139:11–16 (ESV)

    11     If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

    12     even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

    13     For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

    14     I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

        Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

    15     My frame was not hidden from you,

        when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

    16     Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

        in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

If this is true of us, could it also be true of the earth, from which we were formed? “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” When I was young, I tried my hand at knitting, one long piece of yarn, put together with knitting needles, to fashion a form. Once created, it didn’t come apart, it retained whatever form you were forming it into. Now, it doesn’t matter that it was dark in my mother’s womb, He sees all. You’ll note, there was also no light created yet at Gen 1:2, when the earth was still without form and void, light was created in verse 3. However, before verse 3, we have one more statement. “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” This has been a statement that many have diligently toiled over. What was He doing hovering? Was He forming the inward parts of the earth? Was He knitting together the earth in the large amniotic sac of the Deep? Was the Earth’s frame not hidden to Him when it was being made in secret, when it was intricately woven in the depths of the Deep? Did He see the earth’s unformed substance? Are we that intrinsically linked?

Ecclesiastes 1:4 (ESV)

        A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but the earth remains forever.

Isaiah 65:17 (ESV)

New Heavens and a New Earth

    17     “For behold, I create new heavens

and a new earth,

        

When the New Earth is created, is it created out of unformed substance from the old earth or created new? Much debate has gone into this. Perhaps we can’t see the forest for the trees on this. It need not be one or the other. So, let’s move back to the question at hand by considering what happens to us when the Lord returns for His own.

1 Corinthians 15:36–43 (ESV)

What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.

When the Lord was resurrected, was He the same person? Undeniably yes, He was both, the same person and with a new body. Inherent in the resurrection is the concept of continuity, the person resurrected is still the same person, albeit changed.. That is undeniable, it would make no sense any other way. Why? Glad you asked the question. How would God’s judgement and reward system work if it wasn’t the same person? What you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, something of what we are survives death, who we are. More than likely it has to do with our DNA, our unique blueprint of who we are, and not just a clone, the real us survives this transition, even though we are changed. Both statements about the Earth are true, “the earth remains forever”, and,” I create new heavens and a new earth”, both are also absolute. The word “Forever” means just that, forever. And “Create” means to create out of nothing. What this indicates is that both are true, the New Earth is both the real (same) Earth and a new creation, the same, but with a new body. Just like us, the earth retains what it is, it’s identity, and also receives a new body. Both are true. In the case of the earth I suppose DNA may not be a suitable term, however what DNA is, may suffice. That would be, blueprint. Far more precise than any ordinary blueprint, in that what comes about is the same entity with a different body. This is a continuity of the Earth, in which the Word of God makes two seemingly contradictory statements to still be true. (Forever, and New) It’s kind of like a family name, let me illustrate, how long is the throne of David going to continue?

Isaiah 9:7 (ESV)

    7     Of the increase of his government and of peace

there will be no end,

        on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

to establish it and to uphold it

        with justice and with righteousness

from this time forth and forevermore.

        The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The Throne of David will continue on into perpetuity, under the rule of the Messiah.

Romans 8:19–21 (ESV)

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

There need be no tension between the two statements concerning forever, and new. I believe we will find both to be true, it is both Earth and New. God will be true to His resurrection principle, of restoring that which He took not away, and both Forever and New will be true. He will sanctify (make holy, perfect, set apart to Himself) the New Earth.

Will He put Earths’ ingredients into the Deep and use this same process to bring the New Earth into being? Why not? What is true of us?

Ephesians 5:26–27 (ESV)

26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. You see, we are sanctified by the washing of water with the word. What is the Deep. The Deep is simply water, His water, He owns it all. And we know, He is the Word of God.

Revelation 19:13 (ESV)

13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.

The possibilities are intriguing. We may find our connection with the Earth goes much farther that we could have imagined. We may find that it is sanctified in the much same manner as we ourselves are. At any rate He is going to create a New Earth for His New bride, we the Church. May God bless you with these few thoughts, and may He be honored and glorified by them.

 
 

 

 

 


 

God’s Entanglement

Quantum Physics is a field of study that holds promise of new ways of looking at things to help us understand reality as we know it. There have been breakthroughs in this field of study, yet most seem to know little of it other than its existence. I’m not going to focus on Quantum Physics per say, but rather how it relates to God and ultimately, to us.

1 Cor 2:6-7 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

To begin we need to define entanglement as it’s understood today. Entanglement refers to what Einstein referred to as “Spooky action at a distance” Sounds real scientific, doesn’t it? 🙂

Phys.org defines it thus; Entanglement is a special feature of the quantum world in which certain properties of individual particles become linked such that knowledge of the quantum state of any one particle dictates that of the others.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2014-09-charm-nist-detectors-reveal-entangled.html#jCp

One of the interesting things about entanglement, is that the entangled particles can be separated across the universe, yet changes in the state of one affect the others instantaneously. Let that sink in, the change is instantaneous. The studies so far have only detected 2 (and now up to 3) particles entangled at any one time. But what if this is an anomaly?

God warned Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden, not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He warned them that if they ever did that they would die that day, and so it was. They sinned by eating that fruit, yet they did not physically die that day, however they died spiritually, they were separated in their relationship with God. Now I have heard even recently that the reason we are also sinners is that it is passed down in the DNA of the human genome. However even if this is true, it’s not the complete picture, it doesn’t take into account that the entire creation was cursed as a result of man’s sin. So why was creation cursed?

I believe that answer can be found in Gen 1:26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God placed the creation at man’s disposal, He would not take that dominion back, however He will at some point restore that which He took not away. But that’s a topic for another discussion. God cannot have sin in His presence. Is it possible that this sin, inadvertently created an instantaneous separation of God with his entire creation? He still upholds it by the word of His own power, but if (apart from that) sin instantly separated Him from them and the creation, it would make sense. Why you ask? Look at the penalty that God warned them about, many think it’s because God was getting even with them for disobedience. But that can’t be, for we know, God is good, His intentions toward man have always been good. God’s entanglement may have been with every particle ever created, but with the dominion having been given to man, it linked the creation with man and was subject to whatever man was subject to. This places the chaotic catastrophe directly on man, when he ate the fruit it was like switching the light switch off so to speak, and not an action God had to take to curse him.

Perhaps man still has the blueprint of what he was in the Garden of Eden, and the genes relating to that have merely been turned off, recessive and not able to turn on because man’s particles are no longer entangled with God. It would certainly explain how man spiritually died instantly the moment he sinned. Since the particles in his makeup were no longer entangled with God, he started to physically age as well and eventually died. Perhaps the strongest evidence that this could be true is found in Ephesians 1:7-10

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”

Did you catch that part, a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth? Hmmm…Things in heaven, and things on earth, pretty much covers it all I’d say. But the part that I really want you to catch is “to unite all things in him” Is not this God’s entanglement, connected with all things, every particle that exists? It is reminiscent of John 17:20-23 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
Imagine the workings of such a relationship. His every action would cause an instantaneous reaction in every particle that exists, as creation and man respond to their Creator. Can I be dogmatic, no… I do however wonder if this is not so. If it is, we will have the honor to be connected to Him, every particle of us, for eternity. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church, could there be a closer, more intimate relationship, than to have every particle of your being, connected to the one who loves you most? There are exciting times ahead for the believer!

Tears in a bottle and the Waster

Don’t you just hate those greetings, you know, the ones when you open your refrigerator and find your favorite food has a substance growing  on it,  “Hello..”

Good bye… so we toss it. Yet while we do so wisely, often this attitude of waste permeates much of the rest of our lives. But if we have enough, isn’t some waste harmless?  I think it is reasonable to consider.  I can think of no greater example about it than from the Lord Himself.

In John 6:12 we read; So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  

He had just fed 5000, and yet was concerned about the fragments. I doubt in a monetary scheme that those fragments had too much value. Was this a way for Him to display His attitudes towards waste? Or was it simply a display of one of the attributes of God, in action? Both are true, it is both His attitude and His attributes we see on display. How do we see this displayed? At its’ core we see God in His redemptive plan. When creation itself was cursed by mankind’s sin, God couldn’t say “let the entire creation be destroyed”, I know many well meaning Christians think He could, but would not that negate His attribute of mercy, and His desire to “restore all things”, opposite of letting it go to waste, and just throwing it away. Clearly from the very beginning of the Bible we see someone who saves all things, not just people.

Waste isn’t something that you just throw away, quite often its merely a misuse of the resources God has faithfully supplied us. I can attest to this. Yet this is an area we all grapple with. It comes down to using our resources exclusively for our own benefits without regard to others. Selfishness. Sometimes we give little thought to what we have and how we should use it, yet God keeps track and tests the hearts. What He gives us is meant for our good, not primarily for a cushy life, but that we might become like Him, generous, given to hospitality.

Stop to consider just for a moment just how minute a detail God keeps track of, nothing wasted.

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. 

Attention to detail unlike this world has seen. Can you imagine the likes of it? To actually do this for every person ever born? You begin to appreciate who God is. Finally, let’s consider one more…

Psalm 56:-8 

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Look at the care of the Lord for His own, He knows how many times you turned in your sleep. But not only that, He even saved your tears in His bottle. Perhaps this is merely an expression to show the level of care for His own. But I know God, He does things in a big way, one day I may see His bottle, placed on display for all to see, its’ brilliance may surpass objects near it, for they are the tears of the saints of God. They represent the sacrifice, heartaches, persecutions, shame, reproach, and death, all borne for the Savior. Do you think that would bring God glory? 

Death, the intriguing enemy

​Death, the intriguing enemy

The scourge of man, death, the inevitable enemy, taker of all eventually. What is it? Most view death from primarily a physical stand point, a result of the present condition we find ourselves in. It is assumed as common knowledge  that this is the normal way of things. Given enough time we can live in an appropriate manner to prolong life as long as possible, but time marches on and we all inevitably succumb to its’ curse. 

From a Biblical standpoint, death is primarily understood as separation. When God created man, He created him with a body, soul, and spirit. If you separate any of those three from each other, you no longer have a living man. Death has occurred as a result of the separation or death caused the separation. It depends on how you look at it.

In Genesis 2:16 we read; And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 

Now, Adam and Eve lived for many years after they sinned by disobeying God. But God said “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” What did He mean? It is here we see that Adam died the day he sinned. The result was death, (spiritual death, separation) in his relationship with God. His relationship was dead, it no longer existed, it was no longer alive. Adam died spiritually, and it’s been passed down to us ever since. Fortunately for man, God provided a remedy. His own Son bore the penalty of sin, separation (death, physically and He was separated from the Father). For those who accept His offer of forgiveness He provides reconciliation, a restoration of fellowship with Himself. Even for a Christian, death, is still an enemy. Yet there are nuances even in death that are beneficial. Wow, threw that one out there, didn’t I?  Beneficial you say? No, no loss of pesky relatives… 🤗 

Remember,  death is separation.  

For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. Galatians 2:19-21

Let’s replace that word died with separation to see what we have.

For through the law I was separated from the law (it no longer applied to me), so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ was separated from His life and His Father for no purpose. 

That is the concept of separation, identical to death in the Biblical sense. It doesn’t end there either, the concept in the beneficial sense is we die daily (or should) to self. Hmmmm, separated from self desire to please His desire. What if someone kept you from doing what you wanted to do, and you could only do what they wanted to do? If you really liked it, and them, it would be pretty easy. But, usually we get in the way, we want what we want and if that’s different than what you want, well, then there’s conflict. The next step? Separation of friends, death or damage to a relationship.

This is the reality for a Christian, if we don’t die to self, then our relationship with Him suffers. The Apostle Paul stated that he died daily, that is what he meant. The strategy remains the same.

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 

If you know Him you are dead, separated from self, to Him. Your life is hid, with Christ in God. 

“Ol Saint Nick”

​“Ol Saint Nick”

We’ll, now that Thanksgiving has come and gone many turn their gaze to the other holidays quickly approaching. Hmm, let’s see? Christmas anyone? Well, I have today in mind a different St Nick. Perhaps one you wouldn’t even think of. He was quite an important person historically, a bit timid, but important nonetheless.

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Nicodemus is the Nick I was thinking of. Was he a saint? Some think he was, and others aren’t so certain. Isn’t it interesting that he was on the Sanhedrin, ruling class, a teacher, yet the questions he asked were questions asked by his own ignorance of the truth. The fact that he came at night underscores his attempt to not draw attention to himself.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Poor Nicodemus,  he didn’t understand the new birth, Salvation, new life.

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 

Can you imagine the honor of being evangelized by the Savior Himself? In bodily form? The Lord continues now with perhaps the most well known verses in the Bible. A passage used by Him to reveal Himself, to I’m sure, millions.

John 3:16-21 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

This ends their dialog and we are left without his answer. However in John 7:50-52, Nicodemus spoke in His defense.

Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” 

Finally, we read in John 19:38-42.

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. 

There are a variety of opinions on this, I believe that the God of Heaven revealed Himself to Nicodemus and while he was a timid man, he received the Savior as His own. Now in all honesty, we don’t have the authority to canonize Saints. But the Lord calls His own, saints. 

So I present to you, “Saint Nick”

Is that good enough?

Is that good enough?
You know folks have different ideas about what good is. There seems to be something in us that knows God is good and if we wish to be with Him and escape judgement we must be good too. I suppose it turns folks off and makes them uncomfortable but deep down most of us want to measure up. The problem is we don’t understand the magnitude of the endeavor. By way of an analogy I’ll try to help you understand what we face.
Henry Kohms  applied for a job he saw listed in the local paper, it was to clean an 1800 Sq ft commercial building, to ready it for use as storage for food grade materials. After the interview Henry signed a contract and was told to start as soon as possible, but would only be paid after the job was completed. Henry obliged and was able to start that afternoon. The building was pretty messy but the company was supplying everything he might need to finish the job. He got busy, worked the rest of that day and finished it at the end of the next day. The following day he went in to get paid, he was told that the job didn’t meet their requirements, it was no longer going to be used for food storage but was now going to be used as a medical clinic. The level of cleanliness that was suitable for food storage wasn’t suitable for a clinic. However they told Henry that they would still pay him for what he had already done if he would finish the job. Henry said “Great, I need the work”.

Again Henry started, that mid morning and for the next three days when he finally finished, by that time everything was clean, and sanitized. The following morning he went in to get paid. Apologetically they told him the clinic had backed out but another company had rented it, this time with a large deposit. The only problem was again the facility didn’t meet the requirements of cleanliness, a clean room facility wanted to create a room within this building but only could have particulate less than 5 microns in size.
We find ourselves in a similar position, good is a relative term with us. We think if we can just clean up our life and do good we’ll be accepted by God. The problem is that the standards, ours and God’s, are so different. We can never achieve His standards.

Isaiah  64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

What we think will be acceptable to Him, He sees as putrid! To get an idea of His level of perfection, consider the requirements for animal sacrifices in the Old Testament, that couldn’t have any spot or blemish, they had to be perfect. To top that off, they could only “cover” sin for a season. What a terrible predicament!

Romans 5:6-10 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

Right here, this is the sacrifice that pleases God, His own Son, perfect in all of His ways. We can only meet God’s demands in His own way. How is that you might ask? His offer is to “Sinners”, the Bible says, “All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God”  When you realize your way is insufficient to please God, you can then agree with Him and have a change of heart, a remorse and turning from sin, this is called “Repentance”  God sent His own Son to die in my place and yours, as payment for sin. His shed blood is the only sacrifice that is good enough. If we agree with God and accept Jesus as our Lord, He will bestow His own righteousness on us, making us fit to be in His presence. It’s good enough for God.

Is that good enough? (For you)

Non Imaginary Friend

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Ever wonder why children have imaginary friends?  They say their friend told them this and that. They get wrapped up at times in conversations with them. The answer, may be far simpler than you might think.fall2-019.jpg.jpg It‘s the way God made us. God is stirring that part of us, teaching us how to one day interact with Himself. So it is the moment we trust Him as Lord. The basics of interacting with a friend we can’t see we’ve already learned, its called “Trust”. So we know how to interact with our new non imaginary friend. However, as with any relationship, it will only grow by our commitment and nurture, by submission to Him and His will. While I won’t be dogmatic about it, it just seems as logical a reason as any. Do you think we’ve arrived when we finally cultivate this relationship with Him? Ah but no, we are still waiting for that day when face to face, we shall behold Him as He is. Then shall I know Him in a way I have never known before. Then with rapture, I shall behold Him, with my eyes and not another’s. Have you thought about what you will say? That’s some of our training now, to get to know Him better. Is it so farfetched to think that our God is so good, to even train us as children, through our playing. Then upon receiving Him, to help us build a relationship with Himself as we grow in our knowledge of Him. This is getting to know Him. Finally, ultimately, consummating our relationship with Him when we meet, when we shall see Him as He is. Imaginary to non imaginary to tangible in every way.  We shall see Him as He is, face to face, you decide.

 

The Gift Of Hope

The Gift Of Hope

The obscure gift

I recently spoke with a friend of mine and asked him what he thought about the gift of Hope , he hadn’t thought about it to much. I suppose most don’t really think about it too much. It seems strange considering God’s Word ranks it as the second greatest gift, only excelled by Love itself. It seems that the gifts that are most visible are the ones sought after. While we cannot judge motives, it makes you wonder if the “approval of man” is in play. How do I know that it’s the second greatest gift you might ask.

1 Cor 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The order in which things appear in the Bible is of great significance, though that’s not the focus of this article. Suffice it to say we have three gifts mentioned and the third (Love) is listed as the greatest. This makes Hope even greater than Faith but less than Love. And it’s obscure enough that while we are aware of it, we don’t usually even consider it a gift. So what is it that makes it so great a gift, and how is it expressed? To do that we should define what Hope is. 

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary puts it this way: HOPE An expectation or belief in the fulfillment of something desired. 

The other thing is to view it from God’s perspective and not man’s. Let me illustrate this, let’s say I buy a lottery ticket, I really hope to win. I could really use the money 😃. I’d say that’s probably not going to happen. Chances are slim. That is man’s perspective of hope, but it’s not a sure thing, quite the opposite. Let’s compare that to God’s perspective .

Hebrews 6:17-20  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

You will note that this Hope is based on God’s inability to lie, when He could swear by no greater He made an oath based on His inability to lie and His own character. This Hope might in the vernacular of man, be called a “sure thing”. There is no possible way that it can fail. This is the gift of Hope that is made readily available to any who would receive it. One thing about gifts is that if they are exercised, they increase.

Romans 15:13  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

God truly wants us to abound in Hope. So on what basis is this Hope founded? Simply put, it’s on the basis of His resurrection. His resurrection is the proof that God was satisfied for the price paid for our sins, His death instead of us, available to all who receive Him as Lord. Because He lives, so do we, and for eternity, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Have you ever watched a ship in a storm? They will let down the anchor, typically from the bow (the front of the ship). It will latch on to the ocean floor and keep them from drifting, this enables the ship to avoid shipwreck on rocks along the shore or reefs that could sink them, this is the idea behind “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul”. Not only that but our anchor is set on a rock that cannot be moved, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Talk about a “sure Hope”. So in the storms of life our sure Hope allows us to weather the storm, no matter what it is. No wonder it is listed as the second greatest gift that is available to us.

 

Corrosion 

​Corrosion and sin seem to have something in common. Take a flashlight for example, as it ages, rust and corrosion build up inside.  You may have a fully charged battery but it may not  seem that way. As corrosion builds up it impairs the free flow of electrons which power the bulb giving us light. This can occur in several places within the flashlight itself, the base where the first battery’s negative pole touches or perhaps where the batteries touch, maybe the switch or even the connector of the bulb itself. Usually this can be remedied with a few swipes of fine sandpaper on all contact points. Why all? Usually, not paying attention to corrosion means that it’s gradually corroding at all of the contact points in varying degrees. That unfortunately means that the light output is impaired. Oh yes, we can use it like this but sometimes the light flickers, seems increasingly dimmer or goes out altogether. We may vigorously shake it around and get a bit of light for a moment, but it invariably fails. It’s not till we actually address the underlying problem of corrosion within the flashlight itself, that it will work as designed and give us a bright light. No analogy is perfect, neither is this one, because you could have batteries that are dead. But in contemplating the life of a child of God, I see the same things. The Holy Spirit within us is hampered and made less effective in our lives as a result of sin, He just cant operate like He once did. Sin has a corrosive effect on the life of a Christian. If you are a Christian, then it applies to you, because none of us is immune to it.  Perhaps we allow anger to permeate us with no allowance for forgiveness over some perceived or even real slight we have endured. This can result in sickness or weakness. 

1 Cor 11:27-30 

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.  

Perhaps unconfessed sin is robbing us of power in our life. We no longer see the answers to prayers we once had, and doubts begin to creep in. Eventually our light begins to dim and becomes ineffective except for a few stutters of activity here and there, all but useless to a God who paid a good price for us. Well, just like the flashlight, there is a remedy.  What is needed is repentance and acceptance of the restoration that comes with it. Simply put, submission to Him. You see if we think we can truly forgive someone but still sin in another area, well, like the flashlight it may improve the situation some, but we will still suffer a loss of power and effectiveness  in our lives. You’ll note I haven’t listed a bunch of sins, it’s really not necessary, because submission to God and His will takes care of all of it. Just like the sandpaper, repentance and submission to God enables God to work through our lives in a powerful way and like the flashlight we can once again shine brightly for Him. He paid a lot for us, don’t you think He deserves it? It’s good to do this daily, because the corrosive effect of sin is ongoing, and it happens quickly.  

 1 John 5:7-9 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.