Tag Archives: The Life

The Church on the Corner

snowy-christmas-2aRevelation 3: From Jesus; I AM, I was and I AM still to come; I hold the seven spirits of God…” I know….your deeds…

This chapter in many ways describes the town where I grew up. There were three churches and together they formed a triangle in the middle of the town. They are still there today and still stand as a bedrock of that community. The churches in Revelation 3,Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea accurately describes these three churches in my hometown. Jesus sends a message to them and all other churches on the corner of every town and village.

Two of the churches use written documents that were written hundreds of years ago; their dogma remains fixed. To stray is to bring censure.  This chapter speaks to them and any in similar churches. Jesus says: I know the time you spend studying the scriptures but you are whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead. You are in need of my eye salve so you may see ME standing at your church door seeking entrance, not into the vestibule, but the heart of each person who enters.  I see you striving to maintain an outward appearance of religion always seeking instruction but never arriving at the knowledge of the truth.  To you I say: I alone hold the keys of David that will secure entrance into My Father’s kingdom. I ask you to rekindle that fire inside your bosom so that you are not lukewarm. Take off your garments which are soiled with the sin of deeds and preach the gospel message.

In the middle of the triangle stands a church similar to the faithful church at Philadelphia.  They have obeyed the gospel message to go and preach the gospel message. They have not denied His name. They walk steadfastly amongst the naysayers who want a world of inclusion not the message of the Way, the Truth and the Life by which one comes to the Father. To these, the risen Christ encourages with these words:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” [Jer 31]

This Christmas season Jesus, Emmanuel, is saying—evaluate your church. Are they steadfastly proclaiming the gospel message or are they watering down the truth of it so as to not offend the “someones?”  Jesus came because He loved you and wants a relationship with you. Will you let Him in?

All scripture taken from: https://lumina.bible.org


People of the Cross

acts 19 crossThis image has gone viral across the internet. The words of ISIS reverberate across our consciousness and the question arise: Are we really the people of the Cross? It is then that I recall the words of Joseph: “Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant to harm me, but God intended it for a good purpose….” What good can come out of something like this? It is this that OM Harris a blogger friend recently wrote: “We have a mandate to live in anxious anticipation, and in so doing I preach a gospel of repentance” Am I living in anxious anticipation? Do I really believe that God’s good will come from this?  That is what a true “people of the Cross” do.

This is the same message Paul left with the Ephesian elders as he met with them for the last time. “testifying …about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus….But I do not consider my life worth anything to myself, so that I may finish my task and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.” [vs 21/24]. Later Paul would write: “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith!” [2Ti 4:7]

But the race is not over! Until then we are the “people of the cross” with the message of truth: Jesus alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life!  We are to be busy about testifying about the gospel message even when the wolves rear up. Remember this promise:  Indeed, the Lord who commands armies has a plan,” and it will be fulfilled. [Isa 14] Listen to these words: “Obedience is better than crumbling to the fears of speaking out.” [O.M. Harris]  Be faithful to pray that God release his angelic legions, miraculous signs and wonders so that the wolves’ mission of destruction is hindered; that they may have dreams that will convict and turn them from unbelief  to the true Messiah.  And how do we pray for ourselves? We must pray that we remain steadfast as the “people of the cross” and join Paul in saying: “I do not consider my life worth anything to myself.”

Are we truly the “people of the Cross?” That is the question of the day.

Authentication and Proving Required

ImageSo far in the book of Matthew, we have walked through the first three chapters and seen that as a superior researcher and writer, Matthew has given us three areas to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. First was the genealogical record, second his birth, thirdly, the world’s reception, and now in chapter 4 we will see his power over temptation.

 Job may have been God’s “s”ervant  who proved to be blameless but Jesus is the “S”ervant who not only proved blameless but left us with the truth of how to face the arch enemy of our souls.

The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus and led him into the wilderness. The Israelites were proven to be faithless but Jesus will prove His faithfulness. Sometimes we too are led into the wilderness to be proven. It is in these times of barrenness that we either rely upon God and His trustworthiness or succumb to the enemy’s bait.

We say Satan doesn’t get it, but in reality he does get it. He is persistent and his one aim is to destroy and change the plans of God. Allen Ross wrote: The temptation episode was God’s way of showing that Jesus was the perfect man, that He could resist sin, that he could defeat Satan.  He has conquered and therefore can intercede for us. [Heb 4:14-16].

And so the temptations begin with Satan dangling his bait just as he did in the garden, in the wilderness, did with Peter and does with us today. Jesus was discerning and so we should be as well. Hebrews reminds us to be feeding upon the meat of the Word, memorizing it so when he comes calling, disguised as an angel of light or otherwise, we can discern him for what he is: a liar and a thief. We are told by Paul to put on our armor for we will be wrestling not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of darkness.

 A truth we can count on: Satan sees only one side of God’s coin, he is not omniscient! Satan saw a garden destroyed but Jesus saw a wilderness–that is you and I, ready to be redeemed. Satan saw an earthly pinnacle but Jesus saw heaven’s portal – I am the Way, the Truth, the Life [ John 14:6]. Satan sought temporary worship of warring conflicting kingdoms but Jesus sought to bring men into God’s eternal kingdom exhibiting peace.  Through it all, Jesus proved He was Conqueror and Victor, because He knew the right choice of scripture better than his tempter and He would not be deterred to be removed from God’s eternal plan for mankind. He was steadfast and immoveable [1Cor 15:58].

ImageUpon the completion of the temptation angels came and ministered to Jesus. So when we have found our way of escape from the tempter’s grasp [ICor 10:13], we will be fed the manna of heaven or angel’s food as Irving Jensen called it.

While I or you face these temptations how will we be sustained? By the Word or by the flesh? Do we face the path of least resistance or are we ready with our sword and shield of faith etc. When the storm is passed how do we revel, in God’s glory or our own? Thoughts to consider.

But while we face these proving trials we must ask: What is it that sustains us in these times? When tempted and tried are we joyful and seek wisdom? [James 1]. Can we resist with scripture so the enemy must flee? [James 4:7]. Do we give God the glory when the storm has passed and we see His rainbow calling us to His work?