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Archive for the ‘Commentaries’ Category

I’m not someone who watches much television, but on the rare occasion I have found myself trapped somewhere with little else to do, I have enjoyed watching the History Channel.  As I’ve watched various wartime documentaries I’ve noticed that there is a marked difference between the effects of combat on pilots versus ground forces.  To be sure, war is difficult and painful from either perspective, but for the ground troop it is more up close and personal.

There is a greater level of reality that comes with looking into the face of the enemy that means to destroy you and/or the comrade that perishes in your arms.  Just as it is in war, so it is with love.  When we come face to face with someone that we have strong feelings for, there is a powerful and personal dimension added to everything that is said or done.

When God created man it was His intention to have a close personal relationship with him.  He created the perfect scenario for this in the Garden of Eden, and the Bible tells us that He would come face to face with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day.  Unfortunately, sin entered the picture and a wedge was driven between God and man.

The resulting chasm was so great that the Lord told Moses that if any man looked at His face, they would surely perish; and later when the Lord spoke directly to His people from the mountain, they asked that He stop and only speak directly to Moses.  For a God who yearns to be with His children, and for a people created to be in relationship with their God, this was a situation that could not remain unchanged.

When Solomon received the gift of wisdom, he began to have visions of the intimacy God desired with His Bride, and when the Israelite’s clamored for an earthly monarch, God lamented that He wanted to be their King.  Indeed, the scripture tells us that His eyes search throughout the earth looking for hearts that are truly His (2Chron. 16:9).

In His sovereignty and His great mercy, He sent His own Son, that He might reestablish the intimate relationship that He so desired.  Jesus accomplished many things in His time here on the earth, not the least of which was to give God a face that we could once again look upon.  He also gave us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and a promise that if we would seek Him, we would find Him.

By His Spirit He means to speak to us (e.g. “My sheep know my voice, they listen and they follow”), to teach us “all things” (1 John 2:27) and to never leave us nor forsake us.  In fact, the scripture says that we have been given “everything we need for a godly life” through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).

Sadly, even within the church that bears His name there seems to be resistance to the more up-close and personal elements of faith.  We seem to be more comfortable with symbolic remembrances of what Jesus did, than with genuine interaction with a “Living God”; more at ease with a systematic understanding than with genuine revelation; more prone to appeal to men through politics/protest than to appeal to the Lord in prayer; more interested in our own prosperity than in genuine transformation into Christ’s likeness; more intent on how to make ourselves attractive to the world than on becoming the “Bride without spot or wrinkle”.

Even those who have been willing to embrace the things of the Spirit often make them more mystical than magnifying.  Without Gods personal interaction, symbols are reduced to lifeless idols; evangelism is reduced to church advertising; the “anointing” is reduced to charisma, and the sacraments are reduced to rituals.

When we fail to grasp the personal nature of the relationship that the Lord desires, we unwittingly forfeit the provisions of the “new covenant” that Christ’s perfect sacrifice afforded us.  The Apostle Paul chastened the Galatians for this very thing when he said that while they began in the Spirit, they were now reverting back to human effort.  Even many of those who embrace the concept that the Lord is restoring the prophetic and apostolic gifts to the church seem to want to do so under some old covenant dispensation.

Jesus said that not everyone who called Him Lord would enter the kingdom of heaven; that to some who had done things in His name, He would say, “I never knew you”.  That word “knew” is the same word used in the book of Genesis, when Adam knew Eve, and conceived a son.  It speaks of an intimate connection that goes well beyond just knowing about someone.

Paul told the Corinthians that it as we behold the Lord’s glory, with “unveiled faces”, we are transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18), which is our ultimate destiny (Rom. 8:29).  Hear Him beckoning to you, “Come up here”.  Hear the deepest part of His heart calling out to the deepest part of your being.  Hear Him knocking at the door, that you might open it and come face to face with the One who is our Savior.

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It’s sadly ironic when we use our presumably superior theology to separate ourselves from those who God wants to reach. By listening to His Father, Jesus often did things that offended the self appointed guardians of sound doctrine. Ultimately, the apostle Paul tells us that unless our faith finds a way to manifest itself as love, it becomes meaningless.

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I’ve heard it said that all couples fight, but I don’t agree. All couples disagree, because no two people see everything exactly the same. And sometimes our emotions get involved and it turns into an argument. But screaming, cursing, name calling, provoking each other, threats, or abuse have no part in a healthy, loving relationship.

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Even though God loves you just the way you are doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want to change you. (Rom. 8:29)

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One of the frustrating aspects of human nature is that we so often try to control things that we have no authority over, while neglecting the one thing God does expect us to control (i.e. ourselves).

 

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The blessings of believing that Jesus is who He said He is are largely forfeited when we don’t go on to believe that we are who He says we are.

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The enemy of your soul has a story he’d like to share today.  It’s a tale of frustration, failure, and pain.  It’s a narrative filled with “if only’s” (e.g. if only this would happen, if only that hadn’t happened), which will always leave you one step away from wherever you want to be.  The Creator of your soul also has a story He’d like to share today.  It’s a plan of provision, strength and hope.  It’s a narrative filled with “even if’s” (e.g. even if that happened, even if this never happens), which will free you from the constraints of your circumstance.  Ultimately, the reality of your day will boil down to which one of these narratives you find more compelling.  (Deut. 30:19)

 

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