Looking Ahead

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As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations,

and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:3-14

———

Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to come. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere of human thought or experience. When Christ arose from death and ascended into heaven he established forever three important facets; namely, that this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution, that the human spirit persists beyond the grave and that there is indeed a world to come!

The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world as her home, and sometimes she has listened to the blandishments of those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But if she is wise she will consider that she stands in the valley between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come. The past is gone forever and the present is passing as swift as the shadow on the sun dial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it.

*We do well to think of the long tomorrow.*
– A. W. Tozer

———-

With earnest anticipation,
 

Trust Jesus!

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New Car Smell

A photo by Dietmar Becker. unsplash.com/photos/8Zt0xOOK4nI

 

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

*That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:17-24

———-

Imagine with me that you owned a car. It was smelly, rusted, and broke down all the time. The ‘check engine’ light was constantly on, the washer fluid bottle had a leak so that it never retained any fluid, and the passenger door was held shut by a belt from the inside. It had cardboard to replace the back quarter window, and the driver window didn’t roll down at all!

You were ashamed of the car.
Your parents were ashamed of the car.
Even the police were ashamed to pull over this particular car for fear that they’d have to get near the smelly thing.

———-

Now imagine that this morning when you woke up, you found that there were now TWO sets of keys on your previous key chain…

And sure enough, when you went out to the driveway, there was now TWO cars sitting there:

a brand new fully loaded vehicle in your name and even your favourite colour…

And as always, your old broken down smelly vehicle.

Question:
Which would you choose to drive today?

———

When the Scripture says to ‘put on the new self’, in essence, what it’s saying is, “It’s okay… Go ahead and get into the new car!” While all the religions of the world are saying “just fix up your old car!”

But when Jesus Christ died on the cross and you believed, you were made completely and totally BRAND NEW!

But every day we have the choice between which of these two ‘selfs’ we’re gonna walk in – the old self with its corrupt desires – or the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness!

This is the power of transformation… When you inform your old self that the new self led by the Spirit is now in control!

It may take some time, but soon enough, you’ll find yourself so comfortable in your new car getting used to a ‘non-smelly’ vehicle. One where all the lights, wipers, and windows are powered, and work! One with seat warmers for the cold days and where the doors actually lock and you even have an alarm system. One that goes for service regularly so that all the fluids are continually topped up!

And the best part is, not only is this new car fully insured from bumper to bumper so that you can have peace and assurance no matter what may come your way, but it’s also rigged with a free OnStar system that gives you a direct link to the manufacturer who offers navigation and roadside assistance so never again are you ever driving alone!

This is a picture of the new life that God has welcomed us to!

But only One person in all of the universe holds the key to your new vehicle . . .

No matter your credit score or financial standing, he has already made a way 2000 years ago for you and I to experience this new life!

The only question is,

Which key will you choose today?

———-

Therefore, I urge you brethren, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2
 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

Joy Filled Hardships

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

———

It is certainly the mark of a peculiar people who find occasion for rejoicing in the face and midst of suffering.

Yet, we should not consider it awfully strange since by the same token, we also profess our allegiance to a King who was inaugurated into his Kingdom by giving his very life for his people – suffering so that he could be made perfect to accomplish the will of God. (Heb 2:10, 5:8)

Though no trial seems pleasant at the time, let us fix our eyes far beyond these things that now stand before us knowing that they are simply the birthing pains for something so exceedingly awesome that we will altogether forget our every pain one day when we see the fruit of those labours complete.

Until then, ‘hope’ is bringing a bit of that expected joy of the future, into the here and now to press us along.

Faith beyond mere sight, until our sight grows up to be as certain and far reaching as our faith…

The vital lens.

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

In Adam All Die

Adam and Jesus

 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Genesis 2:15-17

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh) and pleasing to the eye, (lust of the eyes) and also desirable for gaining wisdom, (the pride of life) she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 3:6:7 ( written ≠1500 b.c)

———-

At first glance it might seem strange that in the letter named ‘1st Timothy,’ Paul pointed out that Eve was the one who was deceived, not Adam (1 Timothy 2:14), yet in the letter to the Romans, Paul specifically places the onus of sin passing to all mankind upon Adam,

———-

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
Romans 5:12 ( written ≠56 a.d)

———–

This is because according to Scripture, the very first woman, Eve, was actually born of Adam.

———–

So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Genesis 2:21-22

———-

In all of God’s good creation, this was the only time He said ‘it is not good, – for man to be alone.’ By doing so, not only does man and woman’s union together produces ‘one flesh’ or ‘wholeness’ in the marital covenant of God’s perfect design, but their offspring would also be a two part result of man’s seed fertilizing the woman’s egg.

By this, we understand why the onus was placed upon Adam for the perpetuation of original sin to all mankind, since all of creation share a common ancestor in Adam as our ‘greatest’ grandfather according to the flesh.

Since no one in all of history was born apart from the result of Adam and Eve and their offspring, this ‘sin nature’ was passed on to all mankind.

Well… All ‘except’ one…

Before Adam and Eve are ushered out of the Garden of Eden, God pronounces the strangest curse upon Satan for causing this whole rebellion to His intended design. He says:

———-

“Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life.

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your seed and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”
Genesis 3:15

———-

Have you ever wondered why God would tell the ‘woman’ that her ‘seed’ would be at enmity with Satan’s seed if women do not produce the seed?

It is because God was not talking about just any and every woman throughout history that would be born of a man’s seed fertilizing a woman’s egg, but instead it referred solely to ONE woman who would be found with a seed, yet never having been with a man before – a virgin.

———-

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (which means ‘God is with us’)
Isaiah 7:14 (written ≠700 b.c)

———

You see, by bypassing man’s seed, God was able to produce One who is referred to as the ‘last Adam’ or the ‘second man.’ (1 Cor 15:45-47) One who possessed the humanity of Adam as he originally was before Original Sin, but who also possessed the fullness of deity in the flesh being born from above – the God-man.

One who could bear the full weight of man’s deserved punishment being made fully human himself, but who also possessed the divine attributes of God, being fully God; only then being able to offer to God what was alone acceptable to God.

His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

This word ‘begotten’ (Gr. Monogenes) is a very unique word. It’s root ‘beget’ means “to bring forth” but mongers speaks specifically of “the only one of it’s kind”

Therefore, on the cross at Calvary, Jesus Christ’s outstretched arms became the only person in history with a reach long enough to reconcile heaven and earth; God and mankind; rightly deserved condemned sinners and a Holy God!

In doing so, God demonstrates His Holy hatred of sin, but His loving and merciful kindness to mankind. The truthfulness of His Word found in the writing of the prophets over a span of 1600 years and 40 authors, and historically proven events that did indeed come to pass, some of which didn’t even exist at the time of the writings, like crucifixion and the ruling Roman empire who only came to power approximately 300 years before the birth of the Messiah.

In the Scriptures, we find something that resonates so deeply in the heart of all mankind; touching intimately upon – and making sense of – our mutually agreed sentiment that ‘nobody’s perfect,’ which is just a nice way of conveying the truth that “there is something desperately wrong with the human condition.”

Jesus is God’s predestined plan of redemption for our fallen humanity.

Far beyond a return merely to the state of the Garden once again, we are welcomed to return to life eternal by the forgiveness of our sin that brought death into this world.

Jesus IS that life eternal!

———

IN JESUS ALL LIVE

Through the power that raised Jesus the sinless Savior from the grave, God now offers us that same Spirit born resurrection power over sin and death, by confessing our faith in Christ and believing he rose from the grave; being *born again,* not of the perishable seed of Adam destined to death, but of the imperishable seed of heaven destined to live forever with God even ‘after’ death – the promised Holy Spirit.

———-

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Romans 5:18-19

I welcome you to receive the free gift of God through the Spirit of His blessed Son.

Trust ♔ Jesus!

The Wisdom of God

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For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person?
Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age?

Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25

———-

Knowledge and power. Two things that men have sought after since the beginning of time and all throughout history. Even up to this very generation we live in, this pursuit continues to rage on.

Millions of best selling books, Cd’s, dvds, and movies are sold each year, millions of YouTube channels with millions of people expressing and perpetuating their various ideas, opinions and beliefs, while the greatest wisdom that this world could ever afford sits collecting dust upon the shelves of most.

The Holy Bible.

———–

To the first century Greek mindset, there didn’t appear to contain any beauty or wisdom to be gleaned from a story about a suffering Savior. Not when the competing mythological stories of the day about Zeus, Odin, Hermes, Artemis and hundreds more spoke of supposed ‘saviours’ who peaked men’s truly vain ideas of power. Valiant men; massive and strong; taking on and slewing thousands with a supernatural arsenal of weaponry; fierce in battle…

A crucified and bloodstained Savior standing next the likes of Zeus in the first century was the equivalent of The Incredible Hulk standing next to Spongebob Squarepants in their estimations.

———–

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Isaiah 53:2
———–

To the Jewish mindset seeking supernatural signs, a pierced and punished Savior demonstrated no supernatural wonder.

Their hearts were so hardened to the truth of God that even while Jesus performed miraculous healing after healing right before their eyes, their only conclusive desire was to murder him rather than to recognize the majesty of the one to whom they claimed that they had long awaited for Messiah.

I say ‘claimed’ because even in preparation of anticipating that Jesus might actually fulfill his word to rise from the dead, they continually took steps to ensure that their hearts would never receive such a report. They did so when they requested that two Roman soldiers would be posted to guard the tomb just in case he actually did rise.

That seems equivalent to to asking someone to show you a magic trick then closing your eyes in order to claim that it never happened; a self defeating mechanism engrained in the very request to ensure that the results would never yield the answer you claim you earnestly desired.

Is it any wonder that Jesus called them ‘Hypocrites!’

———-

In the 21st century, though many of these devices have taken on a new face, we stand guilty of the same erroneous pursuits away from the simplicity of the power of the Gospel and the wisdom of God… Christ crucified.

Only at the cross do we come face to face with an overwhelming convergence of truth and lies, love and hate, justice and mercy, holiness and wrath, life and death, heaven and earth!

To the pretentious and haughty, the wisdom is hidden under the end of their nose as they condescend to God’s plan of redemption.

To the sort who holds their eyes wide shut, they fool only themselves that nothing can be seen of immensely spectacular proportions.

Yet the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom…

and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength…

———

“Father forgive them…” a merciful final plea… “They don’t even know what their doing” – to themselves…

I implore you this morning as I do many others; set your hearts meditation upon the cross of Christ, and consider deeply what glorious revelations lay waiting to be found there.

And may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened to the mysteries of Holy Awesome Love!

 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

Communion with Christ

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Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. *Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.* Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!

The Spirit gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I have spoken to you they are spirit* and they are life.
John 6:63

———-

The flesh – Your carnal views and desires, and the literal understanding of my doctrine. By this Jesus shows them that he did not intend that his words should be taken literally.

Profits nothing – Would not avail to the real needs of man. The bread that Moses gave, the food which you seek, would not be of real value to man’s highest wants.

They are spirit – They are spiritual. They are not to be understood literally, as if you were really to eat my flesh, but they are to be understood as denoting the need of that provision for the soul which God has made by my coming into the world.

Are life – Are fitted to produce or give life to the soul dead in sins.

———-

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.

Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.
1 Corinthians 11:26-31

Since Jesus clarified that by eating of his body and drinking of his blood were both symbolic of spiritual communion with him, and not literally intended, then it is worth noting that when the Apostle Paul warned that those who eat of the bread and drink of the wine in an ‘unworthy manner’ would not only befall sickness, but also ‘fall asleep,’ he meant spiritual sleep.

In other words, like zombies or the walking dead, a man can appear to have life to others – who really has no communion with God at all; this can even be made further indiscernible to ‘self’ since God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable.

———

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:22-23

———

It can be displayed in no conviction of sin; no desire for holiness; no love for the lost; no integrity nor faithfulness in your words; bitter resentment; un-forgiveness; no understanding of your spiritual state; or worldliness.

———-

You say, ‘I am rich;* I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ *But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
Revelation 3:17

———–

Therefore with godly sincerity and reverence let us labor to ‘discern the body of Christ,’ as we partake of communion with him, recalling to mind that he died to take our punishment for sin, so that we might find the freedom and power to live for God!
 

Trust ♔ Jesus!

Word of the Day: FEY

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WORD OF THE DAY: FEY
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

1. marked by a foreboding of death or calamity

2. marked by an otherworldly air or attitude

3. excessively refined: precious

4. quaintly unconventional

——–

(3) But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 

(4) We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

(2) We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

(1) For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12

——–

More than operating on the basis of selfless love alone, the Apostle had all his heart, mind, soul and strength engaged in the call of God, understanding that at any point of compromise in any of these areas, it would result in cultivating a desire that works against the Spirit’s ambition to further the Gospel in him. By the breadth and fullness of this definition, we can say that he was ‘fey’ in earnest to answer the call of Christ!

He recognized the challenge he was placing himself up against in trying to bring light to a dark world and settled the issue in his heart – to die is gain (1), he set his mind far beyond the temporal into the beautiful eternity that his hope in Christ would guarantee him to encourage him past despair into joyfully bearing the cross of Christ (2), he thoroughly meditated upon and fully understood his identity in Christ (3), and the result was the sort of life that looked remarkably different to the world around him (4.)

——–

 “And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men'”
Mark 1:17
 

Trust Jesus!