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Archive for January, 2016

 

“…and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet…then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp stands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him. I fell at His feet as dead…” (Revelation 1:10-17 NKJV).

I write about real time people and paint the same—no sci-fi—no paranormal. So when it comes to grasping today’s scripture on the canvas of my mind, I come up lacking in an ability to describe or completely comprehend the majesty and power of this Revelation Jesus.

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We’ve painted Jesus on the cross, growing too familiar and insensitive to that graphic scene of depravity, unable to imagine the horror our Lord endured for the likes of us. Oh we’re quite comfortable with the picture of Him calming the sea, healing the sick, bursting from the tomb, or sitting in a meadow, smiling at a group of happy children.
But the cross is empty. And the tomb is vacant. He’s not there! That part of His work is finished and we must adjust our hearts and minds to King Jesus—at the right hand of the Father—King of Kings and Lord of Lords, clothed in regal garments, having taken His place as the sovereign ruler of the Universe.

I fear we’ve denigrated and isolated the Lord to the artists’ images painted over the centuries.
When we see Him, likely as not, the image we’re going to behold will be much like what John saw in the 1st Chapter of Revelation. King Jesus—In all His power, majesty, and might! And I’m betting our reactions will be just like John’s.
We don’t like the mental image of Jesus at the Temple—angry, whip in hand, tossing tables, rebuking the merchants, and driving evil from His Father’s house. ‘Cause that pricks our minds and prompts us to ask, What in my life displeases You?
And goodness! He called the religious leaders snakes, vipers, hypocrites, white-washed tombs. Do any of us qualify for a rebuke like that today? It’s much easier to focus on a one dimensional loving Savior who requires nothing in return. But is that a relationship?

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Whether you believe God’s Word or not in no way changes the Word, or who Jesus is, or what is to come. But the light of His knowledge and power is meant to change us. Change our behavior. Purify our hearts. And transform us to perform our mission as His Body—the Church.

Colossians 1:15-18 tells us about Jesus—who He is and what’s He’s done and what He’s going to be and do for eternity.
• He is the image of the invisible God
• The firstborn of all creation
• By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth

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• He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together
• He is also the head of the body, the church
• He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead
• He Himself will come to have first place in everything
Jesus Christ is God’s plan from the beginning.
In the 19th Chapter of Revelation John tells us of seeing the Lord Jesus again. This time he paints a word picture of our Conquering King and the heavenly armies with Him—you and me!
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV).

No, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is not a single dimensioned—ooey, gooey personality of blubbering-dismissive-nonsensical-amnesia-laden thoughts and words flower-child. He is the exact representation of God the Father, who chose to take into His perfect body the sins of all creation and paid the death penalty for all who choose to believe His sacrifice was sufficient to present us blameless before God. He is the personification of love. Sacrificial love.

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Remember the word pictures of God the Father in the Old Testament. Better yet, go back and look up the references to The Angel of the Lord, or The Captain of the Hosts of the Lord’s Armies—our Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance. How did those folks act when they saw Him?
In the first chapter of Hebrews God has preserved these words:
“God who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they…
…to the Son He says: Your throne, O God is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore, God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

Last week’s blog talked about our position as soldiers of The Kingdom. We love the recruitment and social life of His righteous kingdom, but when we get down to the arduous task of crucifying our old selves—boot camp—most of us would-be-soldiers duck out the back door, don’t we? Choosing to lounge in the crowded grandstands of life rather than building the spiritual muscles necessary to be a soldier of the cross.
Jesus tells us, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14 KJV). “Ask and you shall be given. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7KJV).
Why don’t we ask Him to change us? Could it be we haven’t surrendered to His lordship? Or perhaps we just don’t want to change.

John 8:58, and 24 tells us:
“Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was I AM.”

Exodus 3:14 says:
“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

And in John 10:30 Jesus affirms:
“I and My Father are one.”

So precious one, where does the power come from to live your life filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding? A life where you are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience?
This is the same power that resurrected Christ from the grave and made Him the firstborn of all creation. But God’s not going to hold you down and plug you into a holy socket for instant rehabilitation. No, it’s your choice. A life-long proving and testing ground of learning to abide in Jesus. Allowing the Spirit of God to fill you to capacity. Choosing every day to surrender your will for His will. Accepting the Holy Spirit’s teaching, changing, and transforming you into a power-filled soldier in the Lord’s Army.

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In light of all you’ve read in the scriptures in this blog today, if you choose to sit on the sidelines, refusing this transformation and the power Jesus offers, who else are you refusing? And what will you say to Him in that day?
More important—what will He say to you? Enter in, or depart from Me. I never knew you?

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Which is best?
In truth both are necessary, and there’s an old saying, “The best defense is a good offense.” But as fallible humans, we always take everything to one extreme or the other, don’t we?
Take prayer for example. Can you recall a recent prayer time in your church group? Is it an exercise in the power of God or pitiful complaints about our comfort? Most likely it’s a Helpingtime of mopping up the battle field casualties—and goes something like this: Dear Lord, please heal (you fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank again) has lost his job and needs to feed his family. Heartfelt prayers? You bet. Necessary prayers? Of course, we are instructed to pray for one another. But do these prayers ever get to the real heart of God’s will, or are they just an exercise in triage?
We’re kinda like Gideon in the Book of Judges. The Angel of the Lord found Gideon hiding in the wine vat during a time of enemy attacks and addressed him: “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12 NASB). And can’t you just hear Gideon whisper, Who me?
Yet God in fact made that young man into a mighty warrior for the Lord, and that’s His instruction and plan for you and me!David
I was skimming over Paul’s words in Colossians during Bible study this morning,
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” (Colossians 1:9 NASB).

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And my mind slammed on the brakes and backed-up. Heard of what? My eyes retraced his prior words. “…since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all of the saints;” (Colossians 1:4 NASB). So, Paul’s praying for fellow Christians in Colossae. And I asked the question where was Paul when he was writing this letter to these folks? Short answer—in prison in Rome—a long, long way from Colossae.
I don’t know about you, but if I were in prison I wonder if I’d be praying without ceasing for anyone but me. Nah, I’d be whining, pray for me! But I scanned through to the end of the book and only in the last few words to the Colossians does Paul say, “Remember my imprisonment.”
But the remainder of what Paul said in this letter, written probably two or three years before He was executed, clangs a clarion call through the two thousand plus years of history in between that should jar us to the reality of why we’re here. In 2016. What we are supposed to be doing? And pokes a finger at just how deceived and distracted we’ve become. More concerned with our physical comforts than the mission God laid before us.
Jesus tells you and me, “We have not, because we ask not.” Paul could never be accused of not asking. And with boldness! Listen to how this apostle prayed and ask yourself: Has anyone Prayingever prayed like that for me? Or have I ever prayed like that for anyone else? And don’t Paul’s petitions go to the root of the problems of those he prayed for?
• That you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
• That you will walk in a manner worthy of the LordThe way
• To please Him in all respects—bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
• Strengthened with all power according to His glorious might for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience
• Joyously giving thanks to the Father
Why?
• He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Because?
• He rescues us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His Beloved Son, in whom we have redemption—the forgiveness of sins.

Any way
Folks, we are hiding in the wine vats of political correctness. Deceived about how love acts. And what love is and does. Choosing to live like powerless paupers while the shroud of darkness seeps, sucks, and smothers our peace and freedom bought and paid for by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve ignored or forgotten our mission.
The Word of God instructs us: “Come boldly before the Throne of Grace to find mercy and help in time of need.” But we have lapsed into a full-time anemic defense, attempting to manage the casualties and bury the dead, forgetting we are valiant warriors for the Kingdom of God—accountable to the King of Kings and Lords of Lords for every idle word—even in prayer. Because, unlike the church in Colossae, we have the manual!
I challenge you, because I’ve challenged myself, to pick up your Sword of the Spirit and begin praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ like Paul prayed for these brothers and sisters struggling under the growing harsh control of Rome and the persecution he knew was sure to come.
And pray like your life depends on it—it does ‘til Jesus comes.Hannah

 

And by what authority can we expect results? That’s the subject of next week’s blog!

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