Who Am I?

a6586d6ca2096149168d2ab5ae8362b7“What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”  Psalm 8:4 NKJV

Who am I Lord Jesus that You were mindful of me?  You put my cancer case on the heart of my pulmonologist.  She went to a conference in Maryland and asked all the experts about my case involving a stent that moved from my right lung to my left lung.  She found some great answers and told me she wanted to try again to remove that stent causing my breathing difficulties.  Then one week ago You gave her skill and favor to remove that troublesome stent without any complications to the amazement of myself and my care team.  Now I am breathing better in spite of still having tumors on both lungs.

I thank You Lord Jesus for Your presence, Your love, and Your healing touch on me.  I am so glad that You are in me and I am in You.  That is why You are mindful of me.

Loving the Lord

If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He Do-You-Love-Jesus-101will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”  John 14:15-18 NKJV

I don’t know about you, but I have for the longest time had difficulty with verse 14 of this passage.  I have interpreted this verse to say, “If you don’t keep my commands then you really don’t love Me.”  This filled me with so much guilt and condemnation that it stifled my growth in Christ.  I have sang songs in church about loving the Lord but never really felt like I did.  

But recently Jesus has given me a revelation of this verse that I hadn’t realized before.  He revealed to me the truth of this verse and the passage.  He showed me that if I love Him first, then I will obey His commands.  It all starts with loving Christ.  Once I began to understand that He is in me and loves me and that I am in Him, it changed everything.  I love Him because He has done everything for me that I could never do on my own.  

In verses 16-18 of this passage Jesus tells us that He will give us the Holy Spirit to indwell us and to help us.  The indwelling life of Christ through the Holy Spirit is the source of us being able to obey Him.  We cannot please the Lord or live the Christian life on our own. It is impossible.  He is pleased with us because we have yielded to Him and put our trust in Christ alone.  This truth has set me free to love Christ and trust that He will move me to obey Him out of my love for Him.  I hope you will receive such a revelation from Christ that will set you free as well.

Ephesians 1 Personal Version

I have recently been reading and meditating on Ephesians 1 (NKJV).  I used an ephesians-2-ppt-slide4online Bible website and personalized it.  I found great truth and encouragement from it and I hope you do as well.

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus (Asia Minor), and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be You the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as You chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and without blame before You in love, 5 having predestined me to adoption as a son by Jesus Christ to Yourself, according to the good pleasure of Your will, 6 to the praise of the glory of Your grace, by which You made me accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Christ I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward me in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to me the mystery of Your will, according to Your good pleasure which You purposed in Yourself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times You might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.11 In Christ also I have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of You who works all things according to the counsel of Your will,12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Christ you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease 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 to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 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.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all  things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 1:10 NU-Text and M-Text omit both.
  2. Ephesians 1:14 NU-Text reads which.
  3. Ephesians 1:18 NU-Text and M-Text read hearts.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reading With the Author

BibleCan you remember back to your high school days?  I know for some of us it’s more difficult to remember these days. Think back to sitting in your high school english class. Your teacher hands you a book and tells you to read it.  You notice that it seems to be over 300 pages and you think to yourself, “Ugh.  I will never finish this.  It looks boring.”  So you take several weeks to read this book only to find out that you have to write a long essay about the book and it’s plot and characters.  If only you could speak to the original author of the book, you could get all the answers.  In most cases this is no longer possible.  However, there is one book that you can still find out the answers and meanings to questions from the author.  That book is the Bible.

As a believer in Christ, you and I are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.  Christ himself dwells within your spirit.  So the author of life and the author of God’s word dwells within you.  This gives you and I incredible access to the author Himself.  We don’t need Cliff notes to discover the meaning behind the word of God.  We can simply read the Bible with the author.  I know that for myself, I have read and studied the Bible for many years.  But I approached it from a theological perspective.  I used the tools I learned in Bible college to interpret the Bible.  I rarely read the Bible with the Lord.  I read it apart from Him.  Jesus said in John 15:5, “…apart from me you can do nothing.” I believe this includes attempting to read and or study the Bible.  

We need to approach our time in God’s word with prayer for Him to guide us along in the Scriptures.  I have begun to see His word anew as I involved Him in my reading of the Bible. Now I also am looking for Christ in every part of the Bible, especially in Old Testament books.  After all Jesus told the religious leaders in John 5:39, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.  These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” All of the Bible testifies about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Do you seek Jesus to help you in reading and discovering the truths about Him in the Bible?  Or do you simply read it and attempt to find ways to apply it apart from Him?  Something to think about.

Organic Expression of Church

448540542_640The joy of meeting together with other members of the body of Christ in a home setting is always refreshing and encouraging for me.  I had the opportunity during my short stay in California on vacation to meet some new believers in their home.  They are friends of another couple that I have known for a number of years now.  I left the institutional church about 3 years ago.  I have chosen to seek out fellowship in a more organic expression.  I found it in home fellowship.  In this gathering there was no agenda, no leader, and no Bible study.  These elements are typical for a small group setting in many institutional churches.

But, in an organic expression of Church in a home setting is very different.  Each person is allowed and encouraged to share what the Lord Jesus is teaching them.  Each person is given the freedom to use their spiritual gifts with the rest of the group.  Instead of a single individual or a select group of individuals only allowed to speak, in an organic church all can speak.  We all shared what Christ was doing in teaching and doing in our lives.  We met for over 3 hours and we didn’t even want to look at our watches to see if we were close to ending.  I can recall many times in the institutional church service where I couldn’t wait for it to end.  I was simply bored with this kind of gathering.

This is a very unique and different way of believers meeting together.  This is the pattern laid out for fellowship and the gathering of believers in the New Testament.  Yet, over the past 1500 years or so we have taken our western viewpoint of the New Testament over first looking at how these gatherings happened at the time it was written.  The early church met in homes not in buildings.  The early church didn’t have paid clergy.  In fact, there was no distinction between leaders and regular believers.  The early church also had no Bible to study.  Most believers were illiterate in the first century.  When they met together they shared Christ and what he was teaching them.  There were no printing presses until the 16th century.  Most house churches probably didn’t even have a single scroll of any Old Testament writings either.

Yet, in the western church today, we have become so Bible dependent that we have lost the simple joy of sharing Christ with one another each time we meet as believers.  If you went to your church service over the weekend and the pastor said there is no sermon today, what would you and others do at the worship service?  Could you simply talk about the Lord Jesus Christ the entire 90 minutes with one another?  I could write further on this subject, but I will end this post here.  I will however continue this topic in future posts.

A Personalized Look at Ephesians 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been reading and re-reading through Ephesians the past few days.  This morning I decided to read it in a more personalized way.  Now, I realize that this letter was written to the churches who met in the cities of Asia Minor or modern day Turkey.  It was written for the Church as a “we” and not an “I”.   I have placed in ITALICS those words that I have changed to make it a more personalized letter to individual believers.  This has caused me to read this differently and my only response is praise to Him who called me by His own purpose and grace. I have only personalized verses 1-12 for this post.  I hope this will be a blessing to you.

Here we go….

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus (Asia Minor), and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be You the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as You chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and without blame before You in love, 5 having predestined me to adoption as a son by Jesus Christ to Yourself, according to the good pleasure of Your will, 6 to the praise of the glory of Your grace, by which You made me accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Christ I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward me in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to me the mystery of Your will, according to Your good pleasure which You purposed in Yourself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times You might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.11 In Christ also I have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of You who works all things according to the counsel of Your will,12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Christ you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease 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 to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 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.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all  things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 1:10 NU-Text and M-Text omit both.
  2. Ephesians 1:14 NU-Text reads which.
  3. Ephesians 1:18 NU-Text and M-Text read hearts.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.