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from glory to glory…

Archive for the tag “thinking out loud”

Afternoons in the Son–The Galactic Ride…

I wrote this three years back as a post on my Facebook page…Saw it in my memories today, and thought to share it more widely…

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When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?”

–Psalm 8.2-4 NKJV

galactic ride

Good morning, dear ones! I’m sitting here near my dining room window looking out on the green “shire” whose edge reaches the great road through Reston. Busy bodies roll by in brightly colored engine carriages, all purposed on their various callings of the day. I wonder sometimes if they ever realize where they are in the vastness of the firmament. We are sitting on a jewel orbiting a star in the galaxy some 28,000 light years from the center of the Milky Way. Poised on an arm near the edge, we are still being hurtled through space at 600,000 miles per hour as the galaxy spins on its unseen center. Meanwhile the entire galaxy is hurtling through the vastness at 1.3 million miles per hour, while our little planet is spinning on its own axis at 1040 miles per hour, and rotating around our star in the galaxy at 66,600 miles per hour. Are you dizzy yet? What a ride!!! And God is in control of it all…

May you know the presence and providence of God in all your comings and goings where He has placed you in time and space this side of Heaven today!

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Afternoons In The Son…

full sail2xSaturday afternoon busy-ness with preparing for Sunday morning children’s ministry…I am out here on the open sea of navigating the Word of God and finding activities for little hands to work while their little grey cells are soaking up the fine rays of light from the Life of Messiah…

Bible Address: Luke 2.40-52

This week I am given the privilege of exposing the emerging majesty of  Jesus as a young boy… Twelve years of age…

Even in His ordinary life in Nazareth, His parents saw that their young son, “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2.40)

Now in the Temple courts during the season of Passover, Jesus is showing wisdom in the dialog He is carrying on with the rabbis… If they only knew… He does not shame them by parading His own knowledge; He is respectful; He is attentive; He listens  and only asks the questions…

young Jesus in the Temple Courts

He might have been asking questions which would prepare Him for His presentation at His own Bar Mitzvah… He would be given the honor of carrying the Torah scroll and reading passages from a portion of the Torah/the Law, and from a harmonic portion of either a historical book or the prophets…  Usually, those rabbis choose readings in such a way as to expose a thread linking the portions in thought and theme… In His tutoring audience with the Temple rabbis, Jesus may have posed  a question or two which made them think more deeply about the Scripture portions which might be designated for His special day…

Since Jesus’ dialog with the rabbis takes place at the time around the Feast of the Passover amid the Days of Unleavened Bread, it is also possible that many of Jesus’ questions were about the promises of God to redeem His people with an outstretched arm and great wonders… the  description of the Passover lamb…the exact instructions for placement of the blood… the judgment on the firstborn of Egypt… the cost of redemption and the work of purging the cursed leaven out of their homes…  whether their redemption was won by their own works or by faith in the God who gave them the work to do… whether God showed grace in His judgment or whether His judgment was completely lacking in grace for the human race… “the elephant in the room” question about how the people of Israel were ever going to be cleansed of all the pollution that sticks to their kishkes on the inside and the influences that cling to their little grey cells from the outside… All these questions with the remembrance of God’s deliverance of the people of Israel out of bondage to an evil ruler–Pharaoh–fresh in their minds…

There are questions for which every young person throughout time wants answers: “What’s the point? What has this to do with me?” Even at age 12, Jesus knows what “the point” is; it is all about His Father’s business… In order to know His Father’s business, Jesus does not neglect attentive time in the Word of God–even at an age when, in our day, all doting parents are more dedicated to extending the childhood bliss of their young boys… Preparing them for their father’s business at the age of twelve? Well, in our day, it just isn’t done… And sad to say, also, neither is preparing their young boys to have a vision for God’s business, God’s Plan…

Jesus’  parents had left Jerusalem and were on the road to Nazareth for an entire day when they discovered that Jesus was not among the company traveling with them… They are frantic, worried that some terrible thing had happened to Him–maybe kidnapped; maybe lost–a loving parent’s nightmare… Taking a deep breath, they decided to return to Jerusalem to seek His whereabouts from there; and they find Him in the Temple, as nice as you please, seated among the rabbis, having a cozy little chat…

Needless to say, His parents were taken aback by His apparent lack of concern for their sanity; they felt like He had hurt them by staying behind in the Temple courts. And He answers their question with a question: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

By today’s standards, Jesus’ back talk would be considered cheeky at best; and to others downright disrespectful… But Joseph and Mary knew what it is to be part of the Father’s business, so I think Jesus’ answer made them remember…

The Father’s Business… God’s Business… God’s Plan…  What is it? Who will fulfill it? How must it be fulfilled?

The Father’s Business: Establish His Kingdom forever…

His Plan to Accomplish His Business: Deliver mankind from bondage to the evil ruler of sIn, Satan and death…

Nasty I-SIN heartHow His Plan Must Be Accomplished:  The death of a pure, holy sacrifice for sIn, offered by the priestly mediator of God’s own choosing, in our place…

christ our passover

How His Plan Has Been Fulfilled: In the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ… at the Passover… about  21 years after Jesus’ Passover time in Jerusalem at the age of 12… It was the third day of that Passover season in that year when Jesus showed His power to fulfill His Father’s Business by rising from the grave…

empty-tomb

How did Jesus show His attentiveness to His Father’s Business as a young man growing into maturity? He had all the daily activities of life that we do: FAMILY, WORK, PLAY, SCHOOL, FRIENDS, WORSHIP… Jesus was attentive to the Word of God in all these areas of His life–He lived them from His youth, as the Scriptures say of Him:

Then He went down with [His parents] and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

–Luke 2.51-52

christ_in_the_house_of_his_parents-large

SIN in our hearts gets in the way of knowing and understanding what God’s business is in our lives. Indeed, with sIn in our hearts, we think our lives are none of God’s business at all; and with that attitude, we miss “the point…” 

The only way to ever know and understand “the point” and what God has to do with our lives is to first believe in the Lord Jesus Christ…

JESUS Heart-Cross

With Jesus in your life, God gives you a heart to love Him more and want to be about His business–obeying Him…

With Jesus in your life, God’s Spirit helps you to understand the Word of God and to become wise in all you do in your life: FAMILY, WORK, PLAY, SCHOOL, FRIENDS, WORSHIP… 

Right Now…Always…Forever!

 

Confessions of an American Voter

It’s 8:30ish in the morning; I’ve been awakened, after a night of extraordinary dreams, with the realization of the kind of American voter I’ve been since I arrived at the age to vote. In my day, 21 was the legal age for voting; since then, that legal age has been lowered to 18. By way of confession, I questioned the wisdom of that when it was first raised, and I haven’t changed my doubts about the wisdom of that. But that’s a blog for another day. Suffice it to say, that as I observe the young student behavior in recent practice in our democratic republic, I believe my reservations for the younger voting age to remain justifiable…

I live in a town in Northern Virginia designed by a 1960s visionary to be a model town. As I sit here in my modest—by the standard of “the American Dream”—little 40-year-old condo in the lesser working class section of this model town, I am praising God for all that I need and more… I have exactly what I desired of God from my young adult years: I am loved and I am comfortable; it is that simple…p_00014b

My confession is this: that in my “career” as an American voter, I have voted to preserve that condition. I confess that from the day I came of voting age, my motives for voting have been about what I want to preserve about my personal comfort as if it were my inalienable right to sustain that level of comfort. My humanistic motives in the voting booth have been influenced by a popular, selfish idea of inalienable human rights instead of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands…

I am not saying that it was consciously selfish or that I am oblivious to the plight of those less comfortable than me and the hopes for the generation to come. But the inclination is so deeply embedded in myself that it need not be conscious, because it bullies every choice I make; not pure…

And I am also saying this: in this democratic republic where I live, I have found it nearly impossible to be a voter from a country that is one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. No human political representative at any level has ever fulfilled or totally held to the principles of that pledge. Of course, I knew that fact intuitively in all my experiences as an American voter. My expectations were never that any one person in our governing body, at any level, would be able to meet all those qualifications and expectations. But I had held on to my hope and expectation that the plurality of representatives would combine to bring about the work for which our American pledge of allegiance calls…

ChristTheKing4And yet, this is the first year of my voting experience where I actually, fully  realized that I could not vote either for my selfish inclinations or upon my hopes for the American pledge of allegiance; I was forced to vote totally surrendered to the sovereign will of God—as a citizen living in a nation where some, at least, believe that we are a nation under God, but who now realize that we are not indivisible and where liberty is only for those who will submit to the sovereignty of the God of the Holy Bible, knowing that justice is His alone to dispense in full, in His perfect timing…

If you are an American or aspiring to become a citizen of this nation, I pray that you wilbless-god-americal always honor allegiance to the republic for which our flag stands; but I pray you will do so recognizing that this land, its people and its leaders are subject to the sovereignty of the God…

that hath made and preserved us a nation…And this be [your] motto: ‘In God is our trust.’

–Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner” vs 4

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…and may He have mercy upon us all.

The Door Opened…

On the eve of All Hallows Eve, this is my second attempt at putting to print the thoughts swimming in my little grey cells…

 As I was studying some historical/cultural background of the exile of the Jewish people in Assyria and Babylon, I found some interesting and spine-tingling revelations. Among many things, like the correspondence of the pagan festivals to the change of seasons, was the Babylonian roots of many of the modern pagan observances…

220px-callanish_standing_stones_1One of the most unnerving finds was the pagan belief that at this time of year, between the end of summer and the start of winter, the earth’s energy forces become aligned in such a way as to allow the door to another world to open; hence, the expectation of any number of restless souls to go on a “walk-about” whether for evil or for hope of some good thing—but mostly, being restless as they are, none of the living believe it could be for anything but some ghoulish obsession…

 In our spiritual climate of the 21st Century, there are many who give no credence to such “primitive” beliefs; they only use them for entertainment purposes, like time-traveling stories into the ages of history. Somewhere in our imaginations lives the “what if?” about crossing that threshold into another world.  But there are many who give credence to these age-old beliefs, and use these beliefs to practice at gaining power of all kinds over all things on this planet by the favor of their gods. The reality of that fact of life ought to be something to make us uneasy; after all, pagans have the sense to realize they are not the ones who are in control of this world. Nevertheless, they believe they know how to manipulate the “graces” of their gods to obtain power to control what they seek to control…

I am not going to get into any details about the bizarre practices I discovered are at work in our “enlightened” age. What is priority in my notes here is to find a way to express what came to my mind as I was researching and realizing the significance of this particular time in the pagan calendar. At the heart of Hallowe’en is what I shared above about the opening of earth’s portal to another world. It reminded me of something in Scripture about how the Door to Another World will open; that Door is the one that is the veil that shields humankind from the unmasked gaze of the Lord of all creation. The apostle John wrote of the entrance across the threshold of that doorway of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His refulgent, terrible glory and power—not Mary’s little lamb of Bethlehem…

 The first chapter of the Book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ (that’s the full name of the Biblical book) was a giant reality-check for the apostle John…

 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…’ Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 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 1.9-17

There are no images to adequately communicate the terror of seeing the unveiled gloryyeshua-shekinah of the Lord of all creation–the One who comes to judge all the other gods of mankind’s fabrications…

Those other pagan religions may be older than what is recorded in the Bible; but the God of all creation is older than those pagan religions…They are counterfeits conjured by the adversary of God to confuse and deceive the rebellious hearts of mankind…

In our world, there  many things which unsettle us and cause us fear. On All Hallows Eve, it’s fashionable to play at laughing about the things we think are not real, that we think have influence on our world–kind of like whistling the dark…

So, I’ll stop dancing around the subject and tell you straight: The Lord Jesus will return to tear the veil between the worlds. That prospect and its implications ought to give us all pause to feel unnerved; for the Scriptures remind those who will heed:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of Holy One is understanding.

–Proverbs 9.10

We know not the hour when that doorway will be opened. If the God of all creation so ordains to make sport of pagan “wisdom” concerning the earth’s energies at a given season, it would not be the first time in human history He has done so…

So, while you delight in your spook fest this year, remember that you’ve been told.

 ‘And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.  ‘I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’

–Revelation 22.12-16

Faithful and True…

On this evening before the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles, I am deep into the prophet Hosea, preparing for our little ones Sunday School. The one thought that keeps emerging in my little grey cells is that there is only One True God. No other God loves the way the God of the Bible loves. No other God than He has ever provided the way of grace and mercy and forgiveness for our rebellion against Him…

Hosea’s message was a call to Israel to come back to the only True God whose holy love, mercy and grace are true and faithful. Hosea’s life was an example to Israel of the faithfulness of the One True God. Hosea’s name means “salvation…”

jesus-faithful-trueMany hundreds of years after Hosea lived, God sent His Son Yeshua. His Name means “God is Savior.” Hence, Hosea 13.4 “…for there is no savior besides Me.” Hosea paid a high price to bring Gomer back to him; Yeshua paid the highest price to bring the mercy, grace and forgiveness of a Holy God to sinners–peace with a Holy God through Messiah Jesus alone…

Lord, the One who is called Faithful and True, please grant the same grace to other rebels that You have shown to me while I was in deep rebellion against You…

Soli Deo Gloria!

My Morning Thoughts-Feast of Tabernacles, Day 2

…In our CBS group we’ve been in the Book of Ezra this week. This morning, reading about those who were documented among the first to return to Jerusalem, the cities of Judah and the cities of Israel from the captivity at the time of Cyrus, king of Persia.

One study question asked why we think the careful detail of names and tribes of the returning Jewish people was documented in Ezra 2…

One important detail would be knowing who was of the priestly house according to God’s Word; another important detail would be knowing who was of the line of Judah and his offspring for the royal house…

Finally, one of the most encouraging details in general is this: the historical documentation that the Jewish people live. God did not destroy them. Am Yisrael Chai!

For the Body of Christ, this should strike your kishkes deeply; because, if God does not keep His promises to the Jewish people (and Satan is working over time to destroy them to discredit God’s veracity), then the Body of Christ has no reason to expect that God will keep His promise to preserve those who believe in Messiah Jesus…

Fairest Lord Jesus – Maranatha Celtic

fairest-lord-jesus4

 

Elijah on Mt. Horeb…

…Listening for God’s Voice…

Recently, I had the blessing of introducing our church’s younger children to the encounter between Elijah the prophet and God on Mt. Horeb…In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had run a marathon to escape the fury of queen Jezebel; she was livid, nearly apoplectic,  when she heard her husband Ahab’s tale of how the God of Israel had literally outmuscled all Jezebel’s favorite idols and made 850 prophets of these false gods look like simpering idiots on Mt. Carmel. Elijah was the agent of the Lord who facilitated the exhibit, and also meted out subsequent execution on 400 of those false prophets. As a result Jezebel was not only angry with her husband, she also declared all-out war on Elijah with a vow to murder him at the first opportunity…

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Elijah on Mt. Horeb

Having escaped Jezebel’s wrath, Elijah found a tree under which he could collapse his weary, frightened, discouraged bones. In his bitter dismay about the response of faith among the Israelites who witnessed God’s unmistakable presence on Mt. Carmel, Elijah wanted God to let him die… An angel of the Lord visited Elijah, comforted and fed him, bidding him rest awhile…

 Upon regaining his strength, Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights, over roughly 280 miles of wilderness to find a cave on Mt. Horeb. Again, he prayed, pouring out his grief about the leadership of Israel, their hatred for the Word of God and their fondness for all the atrocious customs attendant to the idolatry of the pagan world…Again, Elijah asked God to let him die…

tornado-storm-wind-rotation-whirlwind-willywillyAs I thought about whether God was grieved in His own Spirit for the very issues which grieved Elijah’s soul, I realized that the way God expressed His own grief at that encounter with Elijah was first with a whirlwind…

But His voice was not in the whirlwind…

tumbling-rocks-earthquakeThen God expressed His grief in an earthquake…

But His voice was not in the earthquake…

Finally, God expressed His grief in fire…fire

But His voice was not in the fire…

At last, God spoke to Elijah in a whisper—when all the grief was vented in rushing wind, shaking of the earth, and the roar of fire—and nothing was left but quiet…so quiet that Elijah was now sensitive to hear that still small voice of God’s comfort and counsel and encouragement…

Over 2,000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to speak to the people of Israel and He was overheard by the Romans who carried news of the teachings of the new Jewish Rabbi all over the Roman world…During that period of the Roman Peace, there was sufficient quiet to hear God speak through Messiah Jesus…And no enemy from within the Church nor any foe from without has succeeded in silencing His voice…

Hebrews 1.1-2 tells us that God spoke in former days through the prophets, but now in these last days, He has…

“…spoken to us through His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…”

Among the multitude of thoughts with which my little grey cells swim, this is what occurs to me as I think on this encounter with Elijah: there are so many expressions of woe and travail in creation around us; we have the whirlwinds; we have the earthquakes; and we have the fire, to name a few. My question was this, “Lord, what will You do to make it quiet enough for people in this culture of constant racket and babble to hear Your voice?” His answer came so gently…

the assurance that He will make it so…

“Be still and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46.9-10

Ezekiel’s Vision: The Restoration of Israel…

Bible Address: Ezekiel 36.22-32

How thorough is this restoration!

  • God promises to lead Israel back into the land He promised her, to gather her from the nations to which He scattered her in her state of rebellion against Him…

  • God promises to sprinkle clean water on her to cleanse her from all her rebellion and idolatry

  • God promises to give her a new heart and put a new spirit—His Spirit—within her and cause her to love Him and adhere to His ways

  • After this work of spiritual restoration, God promises that they will dwell in the land promised to them and be God’s people; and then the land will multiply its yield and increase and the trees will be fruitful, with no threat of famine…

This is a work of environmental restoration which comes from the hand of God when Israel comes into the knowledge of her redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ; when Israel looks upon Him whom we have pierced and grieves for Him as for an only son…when Israel recognizes that Jesus is the Holy One of Israel…How great a Yeshua! How great a Salvation!

And then all creation will rejoice, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 8.19:

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God…”

Many observe how Israel now blesses the world through their perseverance, inventiveness, scientific contributions, humanitarian ministries, etc. And these, for the measure of their restoration to the land, are blessings and wonders. But this is not the fullness to which Ezekiel speaks. This current state is welcome, to be sure, but it is merely a shadow, a wee foretaste, of what God promises when Israel finally comes into the fullness of faith in Christ.

In that day all creation will finally shake off the corruption and death which came upon it by the sin of man…creation finally rejoices when the prodigal sons of Israel at last return by the sovereign grace of God and behold the Lord Jesus…

Let us who now enjoy the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus harbor no delusions of entitlement; God declares that He will not do this for the sake of Israel, but for His holy Name’s sake, which the nations have scorned because of the rebellion of the people God chose to exalt Him (Ezekiel 36.22)… Hear this, Church…

There are no photographs or images to adequately picture this. And the apostle Paul says that “eye has not seen…nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2.9-10)…

Think about it! Wake up those little grey cells in your God-given brain! The promise of God to the prodigals of Israel in Ezekiel 36.28-30 is a promise which is full and final—no interruptions; no need for military defenses or barriers for protection or fickle political alliances. It is a promise for full restoration of the land–no pestilence; no parasites; the abolition of genetic modification and pesticides to enhance the production of the fields and the trees; the perfect balance of creation—it all comes after the ultimate return of the prodigal remnant of Israel to behold and embrace Yeshua (Ezekiel 36.25-27,31)!

Awakening to the implication of Ezekiel’s vision I am more earnestly praying for the salvation of the Jewish people, because:

“… if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

Romans 11.12

Pray for the salvation of the Jewish people and for the Peace of Jerusalem…Psalm 122…

“Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your good.”

Psalm 122.9

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