Proof of the Promise
Have you ever seen a promise to someone of an earlier generation fulfilled to you or someone else? A gift or favor may be given to a child or grandchild based on a relationship with that child’s parents or grandparents now gone.
That’s what GOD did for a man He picked out of the crowd. Abram was no better and no worse than anybody else, worshipping idols like his father and his father’s father. Until one day GOD chose to teach Abram about Himself, the only True GOD. Then He made Abram a promise to give him the greatest riches any man could have: land and descendants to fill it. Among those descendants the LORD promised childless Abram (soon called father Abraham) kings.
GOD fulfilled His promise by founding the land of Israel through the descendants of Abraham and giving them their greatest king, King David, through Abraham and their greatest wealth and power under King Solomon, David’s son.
But the real proof of the promise made to that ordinary little man, Abram, didn’t come until much later. The Gospel of Matthew begins with it. JESUS, the Salvation of GOD (what His Name means) was born in the land promised to Abram. He was a King of Israel as a descendant of David and descendant of Abraham through the womb of Mary that bore Him by the Holy Spirit and Joseph who was His father, though not physically. He was a descendant of Abraham as a descendant of David. And He brought the Kingdom of GOD with Him.
JESUS is the proof of the promise made so long ago to Abram. As GOD the Son He is the King of Kings and LORD of LORDS, just as promised. He offers all who will believe in Him as their King His Kingdom and eternal Life. He makes them children of Abraham and of the kingdom of GOD. And He will physically return to rule the earth from the land promised to Abram to his descendants in the land where the promise was made.
The Good News that King JESUS frees us from slavery to the foreign land of earth to bring us into His Kingdom forever begins with the message that JESUS is the descendant of Abraham. Will you be?
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1 (ESV)
Same Song, Eternal Verse
Everyone loves love songs. And no matter how old they are or how modern they are we can all relate though we may not even understand some of the old or new associations. Love was, is and will always be the same.
Isaiah 26 & 27 is a song about a song. Jewish prophecies were chanted in a sing-song way so they could be remembered. And Isaiah 26 & 27 are a chant about a song. This song summarizes all of the other prophecies of the Old Testament and even summarizes the prophecies of the future and the Book of Revelation.
Jewish scholars believe the song is about King Messiah. He is the Rescuer, the Redeemer. The song describes how although GOD chose His people they turned from Him because they wouldn’t understand all of the goodness of His Love. They didn’t appreciate that GOD loved them. But the King Rescuer is coming. He shows the people that they could not rescue themselves. But GOD would do what they couldn’t do. King Messiah, the Chosen One of GOD, would show them that GOD Himself would do what they could not. He did the works for them and earned the righteousness their sin denied them. And King Messiah will rule His people in righteousness from Jerusalem some day in the future. The evil refuse to trust GOD and His King. They will be punished. But those who trust in GOD to have done on their behalf what they could not will rise from the dead to serve King Messiah in Jerusalem some day.
JESUS says He is King Messiah. As GOD the Son He came to do the good works to pay for our disobedience to GOD. He did what we could not. He says those who trust Him to have bought eternal life for them shall rise from the dead as He did. They will serve Him in Jerusalem some day in His Kingdom. All of the Gospels sing the song of Isaiah. It is GOD’s love song to call us to life in JESUS.
The Apostle John sings a new verse in the Book of Revelation. But it is the same song as all the prophets and Isaiah sang. It even mentions a dragon like Isaiah does. It is the same song all of the Gospel writers sang. King Messiah, JESUS, is the answer GOD provides to the question of how to live the life GOD wants us to live. It is through trusting what JESUS, King Messiah, already did it for us. The Chosen One chooses those who trust Him to rise from the dead and live with Him forever and sing to Him in joy.
Mind and Mouth
Today’s message is as much a prayer request for me as it is a warning for you. I love to make people laugh because it makes me feel accepted. When I was a child, because of my disabilities, other children wouldn’t let me play with them unless I played the monster chasing them. So as I grew up I grew a wicked (literally) sense of humor. I was very clever and very contemptuous so my criticism could be withering.
After I became a Christian I still kept the sarcasm but had hoped it was sanctified. I say I have the Spiritual gift of Disparagement. I usually aim it at myself. And it still makes people laugh and me feel accepted (since I could get arrested chasing children on playgrounds these days). The problem is that I can’t tell if my “jokes” about others are really offending others. Though they laugh, even if I rip them apart verbally, is that acceptable? Do they know It is not meant hatefully? I can’t tell.
As Christians we have the Mind of Christ and the truth is, GOD is very sarcastic all through the Bible. The more Hebrew and Greek you know the more you realize that He uses a lot of sarcasm (aimed at sinners and mankind in general who don’t know or who disrespect Him). JESUS is sarcastic and the Apostle Paul is as well, even with what we would consider “off color” humor. So sarcasm has its place. JESUS says that what comes out of our mouths reflects who and Whose we are.
Please pray for me, as I pray for you, that the Mind of Christ and the new heart we have from the Holy Spirit connect with our mouths so we speak only the best of JESUS, His message, Presence and ministry, into other lives. Then, being born from above and encouraging others with our words to join us with JESUS, the last laugh on earth will be on the devil. And eternal laughter from pure hearts will echo throughout Glory.
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Proverbs 16:24 ESV
Belonging with the Only Begotten Son
Lots of folks in the old days actually learned to read from the Bible, at home or in school. (Back when government knew it was founded on ensuring the people could express their Christianity not to try to stifle it). That led to knowing great vocabulary words like “begotten” which are also great theology.
You repeat the word “begotten” if you go to church and recite the creeds (“begotten not made, One in being with the Father”) and know it refers to JESUS. The Bible calls Him “the only begotten Son.” What does that mean?
It means that JESUS was GOD in a human body in the womb of a girl who never had sex by overshadowing her with His Spirit. GOD prepared the young Jewish girl Mary to give birth to the only One who could save us from our own tendency to death. JESUS. JESUS saves us from what Is not in keeping with His Life. He did this by being the very source of all Life and creation growing in a virgin’s womb with no human interaction. GOD the Father did not create JESUS. JESUS, GOD the Son, grew in a physical place and time and history although He exists beyond time and created history.
JESUS, the Only Begotten Son, was GOD the Son from the womb. But also in eternity past before He was in the womb and is and will be for eternity future. He is the only One who ever knew GOD and had eternity from the womb, begotten by GOD the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing together with GOD the Father’s intent to love us to Life.
But there’s an even more wonderful vocabulary lesson here that applies to you. JESUS is the only *begotten* Son. He is the only One who was GOD the Son from the time He was in the womb. But that means there are other sons of GOD who became sons of GOD after birth. The Holy Spirit overshadowed a virgin to give birth to GOD the Son, JESUS Christ. But those who believe in Him for eternal life and give their lives to Him to turn away from their natural tendency to death by having the new Life He offers become sons of GOD, too. GOD became humanly born through His Spirit. His Spirit allows humans to be Spiritually reborn through JESUS, GOD the Son.
We become sons of GOD through His Spirit when we believe in JESUS, GOD the Son. He is the only One to have eternal life from the womb. He is the only One to transform our life, here and now. Only He can give us new hearts for eternity through His Spirit. We become believers, sons of GOD, inheriting everything GOD the Son, JESUS the Only Begotten, died and rose from the dead to give. We belong with Him.
That is a vocabulary lesson that changes everything.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16 (KJV)
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Love Him or Leave Him
Had the opportunity to hear the Deputy Chief of Army Chaplains today. His remark that the Army is recognizing what soldiers want and need most is to be loved resonated with me. He made the point (as you may remember reading or hearing in my devotionals that when you are in love or feel loved you give everything, even your life for the one you love.
We need Soldiers who feel that kind of dedication toward the United States and the Army.
But Christians should feel such a love for Christ. Without it we may hold back (our sin, our selves, our lives). With it we will change to please the One we love and bless others in His Name by doing good for them.
If we truly understand what JESUS did by rescuing us from eternal harm that should trigger a response of love and abandonment of ourselves, even our lives, to Him. We can only love Him or leave Him and our hope for eternity behind.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 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?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matt 7:21-23 (NIV)
Stream or Sewer?
Which are you feeding off of, streams of water or sewage? Our bodies are mostly fluid so the quality of the physical water we take in matters. Our source of Spiritual water matters, too.
The river of life we were intended to drink from got polluted with the dead bodies and sewage of all that have died since the first humans disobeyed GOD. That’s what we feed our souls with if we don’t have Christ. The sewer.
But when we ask JESUS to free us from the sewer He gives us a new heart with His own Presence. The Holy Spirit restores the river of Life, streams of Living Water not just given to us in eternity and a new heaven and new earth to come but here and now through the Holy Spirit in a new heart.
Psalm 1 says this river comes from GOD’s Word, the Law. The Hebrew word is literally Torah. Keeping the Law seems like death and JESUS frees us from both by fulfilling it in His death and resurrection on our behalf.
But when His Living Water pours out of our heart we are clean and feed off of the Living Water. We want to live the way GOD wants rather than the sewer though we may be tempted to the sewer from time to time.
In eternity there will be no more sewer, only the healing River of Life and its streams of Life. But JESUS offers you the Living Water of His Presence through the Holy Spirit here and now.
Streams or sewer? The choice is yours and will show in how you grow or die now and forever.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
Psalms 1:1-6 ESV
Mohammad never intended the Quran to be the equivalent of the Bible. It is a manual for waging & winning war and changing societies like The Art of War or Mein Kampf. The perfect comparison of Americans trying to understand Islam/Quran is the Twilight Zone episode To Serve Man.
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JESUS and Jello
Did you ever see Jello (that bouncy, clear, dessert that comes in many color and flavors) in a round shape with fruit suspended inside? If you are a Christian your relationship with JESUS is like that. You are suspended in Him and no shaky circumstances can change that.
Psalm 103 describes how those who trust GOD as His people are surrounded by His blessings.Today that is only through JESUS, the Rescuer David looked forward to when he wrote this psalm. No matter how our circumstances may shake us, we are secure in Christ.
We are forgiven. We have a future of blessing. All pain and sickness is temporary before eternal joy. We are held forever by our Compassionate, Eternal, and All Powerful Father.
Powerful angels obey Christ. And those humans who belong to Him are enveloped and pervaded in His Love and protection through every shaky circumstance, when death threatens to swallow them, and forever.
I wish I were you little prince
Literally the fair-haired boy
With good genes, a blessed future and godly family
You are assured a lifetime of joy
I wish I were you little prince
Who will overcome any wrongs,
play any sport, get any girl
and live your life as a song
I didn’t have such a home
and my body is twisted too
My speech is slurred, my personality jaded
and I admit I am jealous of you.
But I have my own little prince
Who grew to die for my pride
And make me His prince in His Kingdom some day
Where I pray you will also reside.