Archive for April 2017

A Mantle Made for You

A Mantle Made for You

John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth....16, For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

In my early educational life I used to dread taking a test. In my later life I began to appreciate the importance of a test or exam. 

A test does at least three beneficial things:  

It gives us an incentive and reason to learn and prepare 

Taking and passing the test verifies that we have entered into a new level of knowledge and understanding. 

Greater empowerment follows a successful test and new opportunities follow 

The principle is this: You become what you learn and greater skill takes you to go to greater places. 

When the Bible talks about going from grace to grace, increasing in every way is part of what it means. God designed us to grow and to develop, and to bear fruit. Make no mistake, God designed you to be successful, but that success comes at the price of process. 

God cares so much for us because of the price Jesus paid to redeem us, or buy us back from this world and form our sinful nature.

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot....21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Barclay: “The result of this rebirth is that the man who is reborn becomes the first fruits of a new creation (Jas. 1:18). It lifts him out of this world of space and time, of change and decay, of sin and defeat, and brings him here and now into touch with eternity and eternal life. 

Our new life and all the new things that come are because of Jesus’ resurrection. This is our LIVING HOPE!

 

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Phil. 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Ephesians 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

Jesus' resurrection is not only a past event, but a present power! That's why we say, "He IS risen," not he WAS risen. 

Rom 8:11, And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

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When Your King Comes In

When Your King Comes In

Luke 19:28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet ,that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’”  32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”  34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brougaht him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road. 37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:   “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”  39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”  40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

John 12:12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!”

Matthew 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your servant— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus is a king like no other. He is not a king who comes to conquer. He is not a king who arrives in opulence and demands servitude. He is a king who serves, saves and empowers his followers.

King Jesus rides on the faith of givers and worshippers.  When we want Jesus to enter our lives and  circumstances, we must be prepared to follow His instructions, demonstrate our faith, and worship from our heart and with our substance. Jesus looks for faith, since it is the environment of blessing and miracles. Jesus looks to see if people will honor father God, who is always looking for true worshippers who worship in Spirit and in Truth.

In that day and in many cultures today, people understand the principle of honor and the protocol of entering the presence of elders and kings. Today, there is a lack of understanding of the importance of honor and honoring people who are worthy of honor.

Kings and rulers had a reputation for being petulant (easily annoyed and complaining in a rude way like a child), cruel, overbearing and self-centered. Jesus can to not only save souls, but to restore the concept of servant-leadership.

God’s priests had lost sight of the principle of honor

Malachi 1:6, “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence?

Matthew 10:40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

When we honor God by honoring those He has send, and keep ourselves in alignment with divine purpose and keep our hearts clear of selfish ambition.

Worshippers and givers have a heart to honor and please God. From the text, look at the characteristics of people who worship and honor,

Obedience,   "Go into the village...."

  1. Attention to detail,  "Find a colt tied..." (not "now what did Jesus say?")
  2. Recognition of Jesus authority, "The Lord has need of it..."
  3. Sacrificial giving by unnamed owner of donkey. Sacrificial giving  by the disciples and onlookers, "They spread their OWN clothes on the donkey...

A sacrifice is not something we do that we don’t want to do. A sacrifice is offering up something costly and precious.

  1. Remembrance of blessing, "All the mighty works they had seen..."
  2. Worship and praise, "Blessed is the King who comes..."

 We call this "Palm Sunday" because of the palm branches that were broken off and both waved and laid before Jesus (John 12:13). This was a genuine expression of honor for Jesus and father God at that time. However, the real sacrifice came from the man whose donkey was borrowed and those who laid their clothes on the donkey and on the ground before Jesus. Something noted in Luke's gospel.

The fact that we focus on the palm branches is an interesting commentary on the level of our faith and personal worship. Waving palms is an appropriate celebration, but being true worshipper requires much more.

Something the donkey owner may have known

There have been ancient laws that required citizens to render to any King any item or service he or one of his emissaries might require. The donkey owner clearly knew something about Jesus. I suggest to you that he loved Jesus and recognized His kingly authority. For all we know, this man or a family member may have been healed by Jesus.

What would we call "Palm Sunday" if we recognized the greater cost of faith and worship? What if we were required to give up our own cars, equipment (today's donkeys) and the clothes we are wearing today? Most people would rather rip down some palm branches and wave them around than do something truly valuable. If followed the example o the man who gave the most, we would call it “Donkey Sunday.”

The unknown person who allowed his donkey to be used started something. He is the most significant person in this story other than Jesus. Given our bent towards religious traditions, if the donkey owner had a name, people would have probably named a church after him long ago. We like stories with peoples and things that we can imagine and dramatize.

He also became a part of God's prophetic plan. Somehow, he sensed that Jesus was a King who brought life, provision and a high return on any investment.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9

If you had been there, would you have given your best coat or garment to Jesus? You say "Yes!" but would if the purpose was not for wearing, but to become a saddle on a donkey's back for Jesus to sit upon? Or what if your suit or dress were used to lay on the ground for Jesus and donkey to walk on?

It's time for us to prepare the way for Jesus through raising the level of our serving, giving, praising and starting something so powerful that even bystanders take notice.

Not even the Pharisees could dampen the reality of this worship and praise. Jesus said that if the people did not serve and praise Him, that the rocks would cry out! Everything in creation that is not under the control of the devil (like Pharisees and too many folks today) wants to praise God.

Remember: "Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation."

Now put that little palm branch down and go get something worth giving to our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

 

 

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Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Persistence Definition: Firm continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition. The quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people

We persist in three ways:

 Prayer: Communication with God, empowerment for people, influence over circumstances

Personal Power: Your ability to influence or change an outcome.

3. Purpose: Fulfilling your assignment(s)

Luke 11:1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins [& debts], For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.” 5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 

9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Relationship empowers persistence. Asking is the protocol for receiving

Asking, seeking, and knocking is the sequence and protocol for the empowerment of persistence. Your persistence open doors that remain open to you. This is the empowerment. 

Ask > Given  Immature Stage   =    No Power/Authority/Uncertainty

Seek > Find Growing Stage    =     Developing Power/Authority/Growing Confidence

Knock > Door Opened Mature Stage     =      Full Power/Authority/Full Confidence & Faith

 

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