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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Earth and Heaven...

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes:
45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.   47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

From the context of these verses, we glean several facts:
1.  There are two "Adams." One, literally named Adam, was created by God as the crown of His work.  The second Man is the "Lord from heaven," and from the context, we understand that this is Jesus Christ. 
2. The first man was made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7), and God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.
3. The nature of the first man ties him to the earth.  He is made of dust.  All his concepts, ideas, thoughts, practices are for this life--job, money, food, family, sex, love, children, entertainment, fun, walks in the woods and on the seashore--man was created to be on the earth, and to enjoy the bounty of the life here. He was also created to rule over the earth, and to fill it.  This is man's original purpose.
4. The purpose of the "heavenly man," the Lord from heaven (Jesus Christ), is to give a new kind of life to the earthly man (woman, child, and so on). This He did, when He opened the door into everlasting life with God, in heaven. In fact, the "last Adam" is now the head of His own, completed race of humanity, humanity on steroids, humanity with ties to heaven as well as earth.

This brings us to the final point I want to discuss today.  Because you and I are tied to earth and heaven at the same time, our lives are in constant change, conflict, and turmoil.  We live here.  We have to have money, food, jobs, shelter.  We need friends, lovers, companions.  We shower, we bathe, we clothe ourselves, we go to the doctor, we take vitamins--all to maintain this life.  We should do all these things, and many more.
On the other hand, we who have believed in Jesus Christ are also tied to heaven, to God, to the Spirit, and the life we have that will last forever. 
This set of realities creates blessing, worship--and conflict. Our spiritual lives are sometimes at war with our earthly lives.  
We are tied both to heaven and to earth, and we are literally "in the middle," so that we are pulled both ways.  
Paul promises that someday, we will "bear the image of the heavenly..." that is, the internal conflict we have because of our divided nature will someday be resolved in favor of our heavenly lives. We will not hate, be angry, lust, covet, kill, use drugs, struggle with denying ourselves those things, fall away from God, come back to him, and so on then, because we are fully and completely "of heaven."   
The thing is, that this future is certain. Paul says, "Just as we have borne the image of the earthly, we WILL also bear the image of the heavenly.
We will not fail.  More importantly HE will not fail us.  We are His, for all eternity, and we will be fitted for heaven, with each of us who believe standing there before Him, "Changed in a moment, Like Him forever." 

Monday, September 22, 2014

When I was overwhelmed, THEN you knew my path...

This is a quote from Psalm 142, when David "was in the cave."  We can pinpoint this to a time in David's life, when Saul was chasing him and he and his 400 associates escaped into a large cave. He's hidden, and all the thoughts and fears about his life are roiling around in his mind...
Then God gives him this marvelous revelation:
"David, I know your path..."
When God says, "I know your path," He's really saying three things (and I just saw this, for myself):
"I know where you've been."
"I know where you are now."
"I know where you're going--what your future is."
This is immensely comforting.
At the very moment we feel most confused, troubled, overwhelmed by our circumstances, God knows right where we are, and He is leading us into the future, our hand in His.
We can couple this with other passages to get a clear view of what He means for us to see:
1. Job 23:10: But He knows the way that I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
2. Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fulness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
3. 1 Corinthians 3:21-22: "All things are yours; Whether... the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Nothing that life brings is unknown to God.  Wherever we go, we find that the Lord is there, waiting for us, arms open to receive us.
Life...death...things present...things to come...He knows the path that I take...
and He knows the path that YOU take, and He loves YOU.