Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Faith is...

It occurred to me when I was thinking about what I wrote last night concerning communion, that I needed to provide some sort of explanation of faith, because faith is what connects us to God. It's difficult, because faith is so individual, but here's an attempt:
1. Faith starts with God. If you look at Genesis 12:1 and following, what you see is God speaking to Abram. ("Now the LORD said to Abram...") We don't know how God spoke to him, but we do know the result.  Abram became Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, and he also became the father of those who believe.
2. Faith moves to a point of decision (So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him...). Abram picked up his family, and left, because God had told him to do so.
So we have these two things.  God speaks to me, and I act on that.  So faith begins with God, and then I say "YES."
The same thing is true when I believe in God, in His Son, in His life, death, and resurrection.  I believe because in my being there is a "knowing" that this is true--and here's where it gets sketchy, because I can't tell you how that "knowing" occurs.  I do understand that it occurs at a deeper level than the merely conscious mind, or even of the unconscious mind.  It's a knowing that descends into your inner mind and spirit, so that all of you knows.
Hebrews 11:1 calls it the "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." In other words, our entire being is aware that what we are hearing is true, and says YES! to the message, and to God.
Faith is not just the knowing part.  That is God, talking to us.  Faith is both the knowing, AND the YES! that we say to God when we hear Him.
This relates to communion in the sense that God makes us aware of what Jesus did for us when He died and rose, and we say YES! I want that! when we receive communion. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me..." and so each time we receive communion, we reaffirm our "YES!" and say to Him, "I still want You, Lord."

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Body and Blood of the Lord...

From 1 Corinthians 11:
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

The Lord Jesus left us with this to remind us of why He came, and to put us in touch with Him in a very special way.  When we eat the bread and drink the cup, which represents Him, His body, His blood, His death, we connect with Him IF we eat in faith and drink in faith in Him. 
Jesus said: "He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." This is what communion means.  Sharing in His life, His death, His resurrection, His Spirit.  This we seek when we do communion--sharing with Him, and the communion service is our act of faith that we remember what He did for us, and open our hearts to it, and receive Him as we receive the bread and the cup. You can do this every time you receive communion.  Many people actually become Christians during the communion service, because they sense the powerful connection that He creates during the communion service, and sensing that, they open their hearts to Him.

Angels and Demons...

And I'm not kidding.  In the West, we live under the popular delusion that the spiritual world does not exist.
We ask questions like, "is there life after death?" and make statements like, "There's no evidence that man is anything but a thinking machine..."
This thinking is the product of rationalism, which says, "if I can't see it,touch it, feel it, smell it, measure it, it doesn't exist.  We really ought to have known better, and the discovery of quantum mechanics ought to have at least led us to re-examine our thinking, but bad ideas die hard. The Bible is built on the concept that there is a spiritual world, and that it actually controls the physical world in real time.  Whether you look at the Psalms, which assign even the feeding of lions to God, or the New Testament, in which Satan declares that he has control over the kingdoms of the world (at present, remember...), there is always a "hidden hand."
This is also true of idolatry and idol worship of all kinds.
Paul says, "The things the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons..." in other words, there is a spiritual force standing behind the idol that is very real, and very powerful.  God stands above these forces, but they do have influence, especially in areas where they are worshipped. Every missionary knows this.  Every person raised in a society that worships idols knows this.  It's only hidden from those of us in the West, who discount the effects of the spiritual world, and believe they don't exist because they are invisible. The power of evil is real, and the protection from the demonic, from idols, from spiritual evil, comes from a connection with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Christians can say, "I am transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son."  Make no mistake.  There are two kingdoms.  They are mutually exclusive. You are in one or the other, even if you don't feel it, see it or know it. These two kingdoms influence everything that occurs here, and you will eventually discover the truth of this. I hope you do so sooner rather than later, because your life, your sanity, your future depend on it.  Search for "evidences" of Christianity if you want, but the reality is that being Christian connects you with the living God, and separates you from the realm of Satan and evil in ways that nothing else can.  Yes, Christians can mistakenly worship idols.  They can put themselves under Satan's power in a limited way; but they have been transferred into the Kingdom of God by virtue of their faith, and nothing can change that.
Be Christian.  Live life forever.

Partnership...1 Corinthians 3:9

It's an interesting thought.  You and I, when we work for God, are in partnership with Him.  This is the most powerful concept regarding ministry in the Bible.  We work together with Him, and HE works with US, as we work. Imagine. God, the infinite Almighty, works with us.  It is an amazing proposition.  We have the power of God, not at our disposal, but rather He is the director, the power, the influence, in all our work for Him.  He envelops, empowers, instructs.  Whatever we need, He is there.  And apparently, He is ALL there. We are told, "We are God's fellow workers." If we are His fellow workers, then he is there with us, all the time. This is immensely comforting, because we cannot fail, even if we seem to do so.  If infinite power, applied to our ministry, does not produce the effect WE desire, we need to be careful to know that His power has been applied, and the effect is not nearly as dependent on us as we might think.
All this flows from His partnership with us.  We may have little native ability or poor communication skills, or we may be polished in our speaking, counseling, and care of others.  It does matter, of course, and we should be all we can be, but the point is that God works with us, independent of our level of talent and skill, just because we commit ourselves to Him.