Purposeful Phrases

You may not have heard of purposeful phrases before but I want to introduce you to them as they are a helpful way to study the Bible.  A purposeful phrase is a condensed collection of words that answer the question, why.  It can be a short phrase or even a few sentences or even a bit longer, but it is a short explanation of the purpose behind the action.  Generally it is just a verse or two, or even just a part of a verse.  Quite often, it will begin with the word, “that”, but it is not always the case.  It reveals the thinking or purpose of something that may not be obvious at first glance.  It is particularly helpful to understanding the purposes of God in His working with and on man.

In the book of Ephesians, there are five purposeful phrases (1:4, 1:12, 2:7, 3:6, 5:27) and we will look at each of them.  Collectively, they give us a picture of the thinking of God in His creation of man and how He intends to bring it to pass. 

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:  The purposeful phrase is the last part of the verse that I have underlined.  The first part of the verse gives us the setting of that purpose which is His choosing us and that it was before the foundation of the world.  In other words, God knew us before he created time and space and that His plan has always been that we should be holy (a separated people) and without blame (does not mean never to have sinned, but having no sin charged to our account) before Him (abiding in His presence) in love (our character and nature has been fully conformed and fashioned like He is).   That was His overarching plan for man, that is why He made man.  Simply put, to fellowship with him.

Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.  It can be argued that verse 1:10 is another purposeful phrase but I do not list it as such because it does not answer the question “why”, but rather the question, “how”.  The real purpose is found in verse 12 as I have underlined.  His purpose for us may include our vocation here but that is not his primary purpose.  God’s purpose for us is not just temporal but eternal.  I suspect that it matters little whether you are a doctor, statesman, craftsman, etc. except to the extent of how it enables you to take on God’s purpose of properly reflecting His image and being conformed to His likeness and values.  Everything God does is with the view of its Eternal outcome.

Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  This verse is the answer to the question why would God go to such a great expense for the likes of me?  His return is not monetary, nor is it for any gain for Himself as He already owns everything.  His return is us.  Our victory over sin, our transformation into His image and likeness, our final state of the full realization of what it means to be the children of God are all part of the revelation of who and what God is.  In the end it will all be understood as to why He loves us so.

Eph 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:  The mystery of the ages was how did the Gentiles fit in to the plan of God since the Jews were the chosen people of God?  God has always planned for all people to be a part of His plan as children of God.  God is not a respecter of persons that He loves the Jew more than the Gentile for He loves them the same.  The Jews were chosen to be the priest nation to all nations and that will yet come to pass, even though they have not fulfilled that role yet.  Nothing has taken God by surprise and nothing has thwarted His plan.  It is not a favoritism to be chosen for a particular service, for we have all been chosen by God, even before the foundation of the world.  The hammer is not a better tool than the saw for both are necessary.  Verse 3:10 would be an example of a purposeful verse that didn’t begin with the word, “that”, except for the fact that it is a further explanation of how the eternal purpose is realized; which makes it a commentary on the purpose instead of being a purposeful phrase.

Eph 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  The question that precedes this purposeful phrase is “Why is it important that the church be sanctified?”  The church is a great mystery to the world.  They neither understand its purpose or its function.  To them it is just another organization when it is actually a living organism with eternal purpose.  It is the bride of Christ and must meet His standards.  We are in the word but we are not of the world.  Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  God is not content to just get us out of the world and free from sin and its influence but is at work in displaying through eternity His great love, great grace, great salvation, in and for us.  He is not just interested in getting us to heaven, but is even more earnest in preparing us for heaven, so that when we do finally get there we can call it home.

The Riches of the Glory of His Inheritance In the Saints

Eph 1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

In my last blog I wrote about the Hope of His calling.  Please note that I did not exhaust the topic but only introduced the concept.  For further study research the idea of your body as the temple of God. 

Now we turn our attention to the second thing that Paul prayed that the Ephesian Christians would receive, their inheritance.  Notice that the receiving of this treasure is received in the same manner as receiving the hope of His calling.  It cannot be taken, but it has to be received.  By that, it is clear that God desires for you to have it but it is not ‘free for the taking’ but that it can only be received in the manner that God chooses for you to have it.  So, let’s look at those conditions.

You must first receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.  In other words, knowing God comes by the spirit of wisdom and revelation which is given by God.  He does not hand out the spirit of wisdom and revelation to just any person, or even to every Christian.  A person must first become a Christian and then, when his heart has grown to the place where it longs for righteousness and seeks the ways of God, then it is rewarded by the Holy Spirit opening the spirit of wisdom revelation that is required to know God.   The spirit of wisdom isn’t just smart but it is the application of truth in the light of God’s will.  The longer you walk with God the more you come to know Him and His ways.  Truth alone is not enough for we are finite and carnal so the addition of revelation to know what we could never guess or apprehend is also required.  Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  We could never know God at all until He reveals Himself to us.  We catch glimpses of God in our growth and our walk and marvel at the wonder of who He is.  We read Scriptures that tell us of His Holiness and Splendor and our mind goes to TILT.  We then begin to project what it might mean – and still we have only a glimpse.

So now we look at our inheritance.  You must be an heir in order to inherit so God moves us from being a child of Satan to a child of God through regeneration.  We don’t immediately feel changed but we are changed.  When a man is married to his wife, he may still feel like he did only moments before, but he will never be what he was prior to the marriage.  When a man joins the military, he is a soldier the second he signs the papers, yet he still needs the training and disciplines that will cause him to order his conduct as a soldier.  It is not how you feel that makes you different, but who you Lord is.  When we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus, He then takes full responsibility for you in all that you do and what you become.  He also, seals you with the Holy Spirit and you are changed.  (II Corinthians 5:17)  As a child of God, you now are an heir to all the treasures of God.  I am not talking about gold and silver and precious stones, but about the fullness of God.  The real treasures are those of eternal qualities, such as eternal life, a love that never fails, goodness, righteousness, etc.  Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  We are being transformed into creatures that are identified as God’s children and are made in His image, His likeness and with dominion.  A fantastic study is what heaven is like.  We see through a glass darkly but there we shall see God face to face.

This inheritance is glorious in several respects.  First, it is glorious in that it is a reflection of the glory of God, Himself.  His glory is magnified by itself.  Take for an example, a bright light that is shined in a mirror and reflected back on itself.  If you were to behold the bright light, it would appear even brighter when the reflection was added.  So it is with God’s glory, His wonder is only enhanced by His works and He appears even more marvelous.   Our inheritance is beyond the sphere of material value; beyond the sphere of personal value; and encompasses our value to God. 

Our inheritance is for only in the saints.  In the Scriptures, saints are the Christians or the born again, the believers in Christ.  This knowledge is only know by the saints and God and cannot be known any other way.  It is important to know who you are and who’s you are.  You are the love of God, the bride of Christ, the church, the Children of God.  He died for you and will spare no cost to see you completed as He planned.  He promised that He would never leave you and would be there for you to do whatever is required to complete His promise to you.

Worship

Think back to a recent worship experience.  Was it enjoyable?  Was it memorable?  How about life changing?  Sometimes we leave the service with an “oh hum” attitude that leaves us examining the value of the use of our time. 

Your response to the worship service is quite revealing and it is worth noting how you left the worship service.  The first thing you notice is was it a positive experience or did it leave you with something missing.  It may be the service but it could also be because of what is going on within you.  Before we go criticizing the church for failing to bring you into worship, we should at least consider that it may not be their fault.  Worship is personal between you and God and must begin with us.  Worship is possible in any situation when we are focused on Him, rather than on ourselves.

Now look at the focus of the worship.  To what did the service call your attention?   Did it focus on life in the here and now or in the sweet by and by?  Did it emphasis individuals or the Lord?  Sometimes it seems as though the leaders are saying, “Hey, look at me” rather than “Hey, look at Him.”  Was the main emphasis the church growth, a program, a performance, or was it one of what God is doing and how He is leading.  Oh, and be sure to check out your own expectations.  Were you looking to be entertained or were you looking for some direction or answer from God?

Thirdly, Look at the message, itself.  Did you take notes?  Even if you never look at them again, taking notes are beneficial for you to digest the message and to organize your thoughts.  Can you tell about the message in a word or sentence or two?  What was the message about?  Another very important point is was the interpretation in agreement with clear biblical doctrine.  The message should be directed by its text.  Preaching should break open the hidden things of the text and expose it to be examined by the listener.  Where did you thoughts travel?  Did your thoughts travel heavenward or were they anchored here in this world by circumstances or needs.   Were they led by the speaker or was you focus on things of this life and you never caught the concept of what is beyond this life only. 

Fourthly, consider your vision of life, were you left with the feeling of times are getting worse and worse, or did you leave with hope in the end that God has a plan and He is in control.  There are needs a plenty and difficulty is common to all but how does God fit into all of life.  What is the purpose of God in allowing us to go through all of this?  How can we have peace in the midst of all of this turmoil?

Finally, as you think back over this experience, were your expectations met?  This may sound strange to you at first, but I hope that they were not.  Many people leave a church because their “needs” were not  being met.  The criticism vary and may include such things as the sermon was too long, the choir is always off key, so and so has this problem, and so on.   This type of criticism is selfish and focuses only on self.  It lacks understanding of the others and the point of worship.  Worship is a corporate event and includes everyone.  Though it is true that God is concerned about your every need, it is also true that He is concerned about everyone’s individual needs.  We all need to be loved and valued.  True worship finds us as a part of God’s plan that includes everyone and excludes no one. 

So, as you consider your own worship experience, consider that worship requires and investment of yourselves, a discipline to bring self under His control, a vision beyond this life into the next, a faith in God and not in something temporal such as a man or church or a plan, and  a surrender to the will of God rather than just your will. My prayer for you is that your worship will become richer and fuller with each experience. Since worship is at least a part of our eternal existence, we should be practicing it now.

I cannot take credit for this insight as it was outlined by David Jeremiah with the following thoughts:

                It is not about us – it is about Him

                It is not about here (the physical) – it is about there (the eternal)

                It is not about what is seen – it is about what is unseen

                It is not about now – it is about then      

                It is not about one person – it is about many people

Dwelleth

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

[Greek – enoikeo, en-oy-keh’-o – to occupy a house, i.e. reside (figuratively,                                  inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication, to cohabit:–dwell.                                              –  meno, men’-o – a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or                     expectancy):–abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand]

In the above text there are two words that are translated dwelleth as listed above.  They are quite similar in their meaning and invoke the idea that there is an ongoing or repeated action.  You will notice that the word ends with an eth ending which meant that in the original language it was either an action t that continued indefinitely or that it was an action that was repeated indefinitely.

In our modern world, we think of our will, that is what I want so our concept of Christianity is often slanted to the idea of convenience or desire.  The Bible knows nothing of that type of relationship for the Christian.  We give as it is convenient but the Bible teaches that we give 1. as we are prospered, 2. according to opportunity, 3.  the demand of necessity, and 4. as an act of faith in God.  Our service may come from duty, responsibility or desire but all too often it is because of selfish reasons rather than to deal with the old nature of sin or allow God to affect change in us.  We desire the blessing when we should desire the one who is blessing.

The concept of dwelling with God is not a duty or even a responsibility, it is a privilege and an opportunity.  It is a privilege because the infinite God desires to be with me.  It is an opportunity for me to become what I could never be without Him.  It requires us to open ourselves to him in prayer and faith.  It requires time in His word that He might speak to us about eternal things.  It requires sharing our lives with Him as He shares His life with us.  Dwelling with God is a life style not an occasional visit.

Notice that in John 6:56  that is a communion or participation together in the events of life (eating and drinking) or consuming the life of God.  The eth ending is attached to all three; eating continually, drinking continually, and dwelling continually.  Also notice in Romans 8:11 that the Holy Spirit is not only present with you continually but also is constantly quickening (making you alive) continually.  And finally, in I Corinthians 3:16 that you are the residence or dwelling of God.  The only place that will satisfy God as a residence is the heart of one who loves God back.  He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place.  Do we love Him enough to dwell with him in this life, as well as for eternity?

Paul’s Prayer For The Church At Ephesus

Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  Eph 3:16 That he would grant you . . . That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;Eph 3:18 (That ye) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

The apostle Paul spent 3 years working with the church at Ephesus. Acts 20:31  Now, as he writes to them, he clearly lays out why he felt so deeply and earnestly for them and the extent of his prayer for them.  He is now looking to their journey ahead and what is yet needed.

First, he prays for them to be strengthened.  This strengthening was to be with might, that is, not just stronger, but to be the strongest they can be.  Strength come by exercise and sweat and by overcoming greater and greater trials.  This strengthening was to be with might, that is to the extreme; by His Spirit, that is supernaturally and finally, in the inner man, not physical strength but strength of character and will.

Secondly, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.  The term dwell has the idea of permanence and regularity.  It is not a mountain top high, but rather a constant dependence on Him.  The only way for that to happen is by faith in Him.  We should not expect feelings, sensations, etc. but by a continual trust in Him that He will do by His power.  It is not by seeing with our physical eyes but through the eyes of faith that we see the way.

Thirdly, he prays that they (you) may be able to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge and that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.  Wow! what a mouthful  of wonder.  Let’s break it down.  The word comprehend can also be translated ‘apprehend’, and it means to take possession of or to know experientially.  This is not head knowledge but knowledge that comes through experience.  Literally, to know God as He is, the immensity of His height (all that is above), and depth (all that is below), and breadth (all that is past and future) and length (all peoples of all races and all authorities).  All of this combined together and you will begin to grasp the Love of God and all He has planned for His Saints or believers.  Literally, to be filled with the fullness of God.

Paul closes the chapter by concluding that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we as or think, but it is according to the power that worketh in us, that God is glorified (seen) in the church.  This is normal Christian living.

The Eternal Temple

Ac 7:48-49 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,  49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?

Have you ever considered that in all of creation, there was not found any place for God to reside because nothing could contain Him.  He is bigger than the vastness of space.  He is greater than the complexity of all that He created.  He is more powerful than the sum of all of the energy of creation.  He is wiser than the full of knowledge.  By His own statement, nothing is impossible for Him.  In our text above there are some clues as to where God dwells.

First, it says that He dwelleth (abides in a continual way) not in temples made with hands.  That is that His dwelling place is not a physical construction such as man could construct.  That is one of the reasons that the Russian astronauts did not see God.  They were looking for something physical.  A lot of people are also looking for God in objects (idols, signs, etc.) which would make God less than what he is.  If we are to conceive God we must see him as He is and not as how we think of Him.  When Isaiah saw the Lord (Isaiah 6) he saw Him high and lifted up.  He will surpass your greatest expectation.

The second thing we notice is that Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool.  This is majesty on a plane infinitely greater than where we live.  We think of our environment whereas He exists beyond creation.  If it were possible, what type of house would we build for God to dwell in?  Would it be of the dimensions of galaxies?  Would it contain the rarest of jewels; the finest of craftsmanship; or the wealth of the universe.  Even if we could construct such a place, it still could not contain Him nor would it be worthy of Him.  He would not call it home.

Then He asked a most penetrating question, What house will ye build me?  The Bible records an amazing truth that escapes most of us, yet we must take note of it.   1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?   1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? The place in all of creation that God has chosen to dwell is in the heart of man.  It is the only place that can be fitted for Holy God to dwell in.  We must undergo a transformation  or remodeling in order for God to be at home in us and that is what salvation is all about.  We start out as a child of the devil but God transforms us into a child of God by regeneration.  We begin living as worldly but we take on the likeness of God in our character and choices, and the image of God in our service and love.  These traits are developed by God through trials, tribulation and persecutions.  We cannot develop these ourselves and that is why we are HIS workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)

So the question remains, What house will ye build me?  The answer, I cannot build a house fitted for the Lord.  What I can do is yield to the hand of the Lord and trust Him through all things.  He is the master builder and I am the building  that He will dwell in throughout eternity.   1Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Precious and Magnificent Promises

2 Peter 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

If you read yesterday’s post of Great Expectations, you caught a glimpse of what God expects from us.  He doesn’t expect for us to succeed in our efforts to please Him because He knows that the old nature cannot please God.(Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.)  It is God that enables us to live holy (separated) lives, but just to be able to do the right thing still comes short of God plan for our lives.  It is one thing to know what is right.  It is still another to do what is right.  It is still another to have your nature altered so that you do what is right naturally.  If it were possible to do what is right all the time, it would still leave you unprepared for eternity.

Doing what is right is great and I do not want to minimize it.  Being right is even better because it is not performance oriented.  When you nature is changed, doing what is right is what you do naturally and takes no effort at all because your sin nature is being put to death daily and you find less and less in common with it.  So how does this transformation take place?

Our scripture gives us the initial clue to how this takes place.  God gives us exceeding great and precious promises to use in this process of transformation.  It is by our standing on these promises and rejecting the old nature that we begin to take on the divine nature.  For example, after I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I noticed that I couldn’t hold the same views that I previously held.  I began to understand things in a different light and my attitude toward others began to change.

Here is a partial list of just some of the promises to get you started in claiming them for your own.

  1. Eternal Life
  2. Nothing shall be impossible with God
  3. God will NEVER leave you or forsake you
  4. Nothing shall ever separate you from the Love of God
  5. God Loves you
  6. God is for you
  7. All things work together for good, to them that are the called
  8. All the treasuries of God are available to you
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Grace
  11. Mercy
  12. Spiritual Gifts
  13. Love (agape)

God would have us to take on His characteristics (likeness and image and dominion) to enable us to interact with Him through out eternity.  We become partakers of His divine nature as we make these promises our own life.

 

Who Are You?

Who are we really? I’ve heard it said that you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.  Its a play on words to get you to think about who you really are.  It may be one of the most popular unspoken questions about ourselves that we could ask.  So I ask you, Just who do you think you are?

If you have a low self esteem, you may think little of yourself or your ideas, and not put yourself forward.  Fear may have a great influence over you and your choices.  Your social skills may not be developed very much.  Your goals may not be very high.  Disappointment, embarrassment, and hopelessness may be your closest friends.

On the other hand, you may have a high self esteem and may see yourself being a success in many of the things you do.  You may have a lot of confidence and are not bothered much by what others think of you.  The world is yours for the taking.  You may be popular and have a measure of success.  Still you may have internal questions that leave you feeling hollow or something is missing.

Neither of these positions answer the questions of who you really are.  I found the answer in the Bible.  Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  It is not the name you hang on your door that defines who you are but the values you hold and what controls you.

So if you have become a servant of righteousness as a Christian, then let me ask you again, Who are you really?  For the answer to that question we must again go to the Bible for the answer.  1.  You are the salt of the earth. Matt 5:13  Do you remember the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?”  Well, I can make him drink.  All I need to do is put salt in his feed.  Then when he is led to the water he will drink of his own choice.  Just create a thirst.  2.  You are the light of the world.  Matt 5:14  The world is in darkness and cannot see the glory of God.  There is a sin barrier between them a God.  You can see the glory of God because the sin issue has been dissolved between you and God, and you can also see those in the world.  You can act as a mirror to reflect His glory to those in darkness.  They can see God in you.  3.  You are the temple of God 1 Cor 3:16  In all of creation the only place that God choose to dwell was in the Christian.  It is an eternal habitation and therefore must be fitted for Him.  He is Holy so we must be Holy.  He is eternal so He offers us eternal life.   1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: and again in 2 Cor 6:16 “. . .as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  4.  Ye are children of God.  Gal 3: 26  Every person is not a child of God because they were born physically.  That is the first requirement that they be human but there is a second requirement to become a child of God and that is to be born spiritually (from above, of the spirit, born again).  That is what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus in Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  He explained it further when he said that which is flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  He even  told the Pharisees that their father was the Devil.  5.  Ye are sons (Gal 4:6) . . .heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ . . .(Ro 8:17) A  joint-heir with Christ makes Jesus our brother and we inherit with Christ.  What God has in store for us is so beyond all that we can ever ask or think.  We should so walk that it is clear to all that we are born from above.  6.  . . .ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .  We began in this world but we are not of this world.  We have become a part of God’s eternal plan when we chose Christ as our Lord.  Now it is all over but the happening.  Satan can’t stop it and neither can all the demonic forces of the world together.  We are the apple of God’s eye.  We know who we are when we know who’s we are.

 

 

The Comforter

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

There was a time when I was jealous of the disciples because they got to spend over three years walking with the Lord and learning from Him every day.  I guess that I felt cheated because I was not one of them.  I love the Lord and wanted every advantage that could be had to know Him and His way.

I guess that the disciples felt something a bit similar to that when Jesus spoke these words to them.  They had come to respect Him and they also loved Him and knew that He was indeed the Messiah.  I am sure that they felt the impending loss and drew back from it.  You see it in Peter when he tried to defend the Lord with a sword in the garden when Jesus was arrested.

Jesus knew how that we cling to him.  What we don’t see is that clinging is man’s effort to hold onto Him and we should be trusting on His holding onto us.  He told Mary in the morning of His resurrection, “Don’t cling to me.”  He knew that we were weak and could not hang on tight enough so He devised a better plan.  He would hold onto us and He does have the strength to keep us.  Not only that but if He went away we would need His presence and power within us.  His statement about His not going away revealed that this greater relationship would be impossible unless He did.  As long as Jesus was present in bodily form then He could work with us one or only a few at a time.  But with His plan to go away opened the way for Him to live “within” each of us individually.  This promise of the “Comforter” gives us an advantage that even the disciples, who walked with Jesus, never had.  They had Christ with them but we have Christ within us and we can know Him as He is knowing us.

Be Fruitful

This morning I took my son and his family to the airport to begin their journey back to Japan.  It was so great to have them here for two weeks.

Next, I finished the task that I had promised to do for my neighbors that we recently met, in cutting down the two doors they had for their storage area.  I am still looking forward to meeting more of my neighbors that they know and told me about.  It seems like I should have already met them but even after two years of living in this neighborhood, I still only know a few of my neighbors.  This is something that I need to work on.  People are so important.

My plan for today is to spend some time on the new study that I will begin tomorrow evening.  As I sit here writing this blog, I am eating some fresh blackberries.  I really love them.  My favorite desert is blackberry cobbler and my wife fixes it for me in preference to a birthday cake.  It reminds me of God.  He loves fruit more than I do.  He wants us to bear fruit.  Our fruit is named in Galations 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  In Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) it is referenced again.  This fruit cannot be produced by ourselves but is the product of our relating to life in the Holy Spirit.  To those who say the the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, I say that the additional christian is not our fruit but is the fruit of God working through you and not you working for God.  If additional Christians were our fruit then it becomes a works religion and not a faith response to God.  The drawing of people is God’s work not ours (John 12:32).  Our job is to lift up Christ.  If we do that then He will draw them.  We lift up Christ by reflecting Him in our character and actions, which consequently, produces our spiritual fruit.  So in the words of God, “Be fruitful, and multiply”.