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Archive for the month “January, 2016”

Testimonies of LIFE

themasterteacher

 “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… ”

–Romans 8.29

In our western culture, we have recently celebrated a new year; and with that celebration it is a tradition to adopt a life resolution, usually involving a challenge for a renewal or a transformation or an achievement in one or several areas of our lives. Many in our culture want a new level of physical fitness or a new body image or more friends or less life “baggage” or better scholastic accomplishments or learning something new, etc. These are good things; but resolving to undertake all the work to achieve them brings anxieties and fears of failure. So much about New Year’s resolutions is about our performance of what is new and not much about our becoming new…

On this day, I am marking another year in my body’s life on this planet. As I have seen 68 years and begin my 69th, I could be filled with all kinds of ideas about what I want to achieve in the year ahead and to try to craft a five-year plan about what I want to achieve or what I want my life to look like in five years. But I’m not straining my brain for that endeavor…

This past Sunday in this new year, I watched several adults renew their commitment to their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Another thrill was witnessing the water baptism by immersion of one of our youngsters who has demonstrated that he understands and has responded to the saving work of Messiah Jesus in his own life. As our bishop blessed them and prayed for them, he asked the Father’s help in their life for becoming more conformed to the image of His Dear Son, Jesus Christ. And I prayed that prayer for my own life, because I find it an extreme challenge to remember that when the Father drew me into the grip of His Son Jesus, His resolution for my life is to conform it to the image of Christ. This is all about God’s performance and my becoming, and my testimony of LIFE in Messiah is about the work Messiah has accomplished in me–it is about my “becoming” conformed: not to the world, not to my myopic agenda–but conformed to the very image of Christ…

Every Sunday, in the life of my congregation, we celebrate the Table of the Lord, also known in many circles as Communion. In our liturgical form it is named The Eucharist. In the greater Body of Messiah, uniformly, it is a moment when all who partake of it remember the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, which was poured out for our redemption. Whenever we celebrate this we testify of  our life becoming new because Messiah’s lifeblood was poured out to take the judgment for our rebellion against God… a new reminder every new week of what we are becoming because of Messiah’s work…

Another observance in life is marriage. Christian marriage observance differs from civil marriage observances in that the Christian observance testifies of God’s ordination of this covenant bond, and the ultimate agenda–the resolution–in God’s heart for joining a man and a woman in this covenant.  Everyday, I remind myself of this resolution when I look at my husband of 46 years of “becoming…” Everyday, I renew my covenant vows in prayer, remembering what God has resolved to accomplish in our becoming one flesh…

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? How far are you willing to go with a renewal in your life? Do you have the courage to desire transformation? Are you willing to surrender your conformity to yourself and to the world’s way of thinking so that you may  become conformed more to the way of LIFE which is in God’s exquisite thinking?

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Do not confuse “conformity” with “uniformity.” When a believer is becoming conformed to the image of Christ, s/he is not becoming a “uniform” product.

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Today, I have added another unit of study to the page on which I have posted Discipling the Messianic Believer: An Invitation for LIFE. You can find the new material on the link to Page 5. There you will find content and the links for each study session in Unit 5.

Unit 5 is entitled:  “Testimonies of LIFE.”  There are three study sessions in this unit:

  • Sessions 16 and 17 explore observances which are unique gifts to the Body of Messiah for bearing testimony to the LIFE which Messiah Jesus has given to each believer: Messianic Mikveh*-Believer’s Baptism and  Shulchan Adonai*-Table of the Lord.
  • Session 18 is entitled,  Ketubah*-Covenant of Marriage and it exposes God’s exquisite purpose in His creation of two distinct, but harmonious genders, and His ordinance of uniting the two as one.  But it does not stop there; this session has equally exquisite applications for those in Messiah who remain unmarried, and live in the Covenant of Messiah’s love and ministry…

About the Content: The reader should note that all three of these sessions’ commentaries are taken from presentations by Scott Brown, missionary with Chosen People Ministries, former Pastor of Son of David Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, and now serving in New Zealand as a minister of the Gospel of Messiah Jesus to vacationing Israelis. Scott also works in partnership with other ministries, as well as educating the churches in understanding the foundations of the faith laid in the Older Covenant Scriptures pointing to and manifesting Messiah Jesus.

 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new…Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’

               –Romans 6.4; 2 Corinthians 5.17;  Revelation 21.5

 

*FOOTNOTE: If you find the terms in these studies somewhat alien to you, please go to the bottom of the study listings on Page 4 on the DISCIPLING THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER page. There you will find a link to Appendix A which provides A Guide to Messianic Jewish/Hebraic/Yiddish Terms.

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