Monday, June 2, 2014

What is IN the Blood of Jesus?

What is the make-up of blood? Well scientifically, blood is a constantly circulating fluid providing the body with nutrition, oxygen, and waste removal. A liquid called plasma makes up about half of the content of blood. Plasma contains proteins that help blood to clot, transport substances through the blood, and perform other functions. About half of blood volume is composed of blood cells: Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues. White blood cells, which fight infections. Platelets, smaller cells that help blood to clot

Well if all of this is in blood, can you imagine what is marinating in the blood of Jesus? Leviticus 17:11 tells us that the life of the flesh is in the blood. See God has appointed blood to have power to symbolize life. God could have used anything else but He chose blood....ever wonder why? Why not something else?....like air? or breath? or even sight/vision? Interesting someone who stops breathing dies...why? not because they lack air...well part of it...but mainly because the blood ceased to pump any air/oxygen to the brain! See blood is our core. It is the driving force behind everything in our bodies. Even women can attest to this -every month! When blood is released out of our bodies we feel life-less and vice versa. Anemics who have a low blood count are often always cold...(maybe why the Lord desires a fiery bride!)



Anyways scripture gives us a few other things that blood encapsulates:

1. A Mercy Seat
2. Righteousness
3. Purity
4. Redemption
5. Forgiveness
6. Atonement for Sin

We can clearly see why Leviticus includes this description of blood as we see in the fulfillment of Christ's sacrificial blood that was shed provided us with eternal life. In essence, eternal life dwells in the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus which is the mercy seat of God! Which is available to all who simply believe. Will you believe today?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Emotional Hoarding

The other day a friend of mine and I were talking on the phone about some family issues she had in the past. She brought it up because she had received a text message that day from that particular family member in which the incident had arisen back in her mind. She realized she hadn't spoken to this person in weeks and at the moment sounded a little unsure of how she would deal with the incident that had transpired. She also mentioned their relationship was one where they just sort of "swept things under the rug" and "let by-gones by by-gones."

Whenever I've heard someone say something similar to this, all I really hear is avoidance. Avoidance and suppression of true feelings put out in the open. This is usually due to the fact that they don't want to make a big deal out of the situation or they just don't want to confront the other person by telling them how they really feel.

I told her I think she should tell that family member how that incident made her feel and find out what was the root cause/driving force of the incident so that she could better understand the other side of the coin. I believe upon hearing this, the thought of actually doing this to her was out of the question and quite frankly somewhat terrifying.

This situation reminded me of myself in times past growing up where I chose the path of avoidance suppressing my hurts, swallowing offenses and keeping them inside. It was a path of internal destruction. Through God's grace and love for me, He stopped me in my tracks last year and brought Matthew 5 to light within my spirit through a class at my church. The teacher said something that finally clicked/hit my spirit so much that it really caused me to challenge my heart and actions. She said "blessed are the peacemakers, not peacekeepers"....whoa!
What a difference.

See Jesus wasn't primarily a peacekeeper (even though He is the Keeper of all Peace). Jesus was a peacemaker (because He is the Prince of Peace) He addressed issues head on with love and humility and grace. He didn't shy away from the Scribes and Pharisees when they accused him, persecuted Him and lashed offenses toward Him. Yes there were time when Jesus walked away from the multitudes for the sake of peace. But rarely was this action taken by Jesus as a retreat from dealing with offense from someone. It was more for the sake of physical peace and safety than out of avoidance.
Which leads me to the key subject of the title of this blog piece....

Oftentimes we retreat inwardly in the midst of conflict. We retreat back to what we've always known. It can be sort of a suffocating comfort to it all. Take the example of the hoarders shown on tv who stockpile old newspapers and randomness. While there situation is horrible, they really don't have anything on those who hoard emotionally. See those people actually have a better chance of survival. They at least can see the physical piles of junk and worthless things they have refused to discard over the years. The physical stench and scene alone can only be bearable for so long before they even must admit....something's gotta give. I can't live like this.

On the other hand, for emotional hoarders it is a little less obvious to themselves and sometimes to others as it is a little easier to cover the stench of ones heart and hide the stockpiles of offenses one has subtotaled over the years.

Hoarder syndrome is a serious condition and like most diseases/conditions there is a root cause driving its ugly head. So if you believe to be suffering from this condition (even in the least bit) I encourage you to visit Doctor Jesus who is the Great Physician to heal your emotional hoardom. He is the author and finisher of our faith who is the Prince of Peace who will give you perfect peace in the midst of peacemaking.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Luke Findings!

Christ waited and was weaned as a baby for 40 days before He was "dedicated/presented" back to the Lord (as per the Jewish law/custom). This was the same amount of time He spent fasting and praying in the wilderness.

Simeon was one of the 1st people to recognize Jesus as the salvation of the world. Even though Jesus was only a month old essentially. He hadn't even spoken one word to Simeon (kind of hard to talk as a baby!) yet Simeon believed and received Him as Lord. The Holy Spirit most likely revealed this to Simeon prior to him seeing Jesus in person at the temple with his earthly parents Mary & Joseph. Simeon also was one of the 1st if not the 1st mentioned/recorded persons in the New Testament to understand/make reference to the Jew/Gentile plan according to the Messiah.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Love

Love your neighbor as yourself is not an admonishment to love yourself nor is it one to have equal love for both yourself and your neighbor. Really it's a revealing of how much we should be putting to death the love for ourselves and putting all that life and energy into loving our neighbor. romans 13:9 is a recognition that we do love ourselves (probably too much) and it is commanding us to love others just as genuinely and to the degree to which we love ourselves.

How many of us are living this way sincerely?

Romans 15 continues this thought but contrast the commandment to the example that Christ displayed....showing that Christ loved His neighbor (and us) by laying down His life for us (John 15:13)...by doing this He did not please himself or love Himself/His life (to the degree to which we have self-love today). Reading the reformationist Martin Luther he states: "True love for ourselves is hatred toward ourselves, as our Lord says: 'He that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.'" Luther agin reminds us that the commandment to 'love thy neighbor as thyself' shows us "our wrong love, with which we love ourselves....these words teach us that we love ourselves (in a wrong, selfish way) and that we canot be freed from this love, until we cease to love ourselves and begin to love our neighbor in utter forgetfulness of ourselves. We should please the neighbor so that he is moved to do what is good." Luther goes on to make the case of Christ as Paul does in Romans 15...he brings up the 'What if?'....What if Christ had desired to please Himself? or what if He loved Himself (in the wrong way)?  Luther states "He certainly would not have done this (died on the cross/laid down His life for us]."



But Hallelujah! Christ loved US!....and hated Himself and emptied Himself (of [His] divine majesty and glory according to His human nature) and so He gave Himself up for us totally. Hence it is love which causes us to please our neighbor and to show patience toward them. Love does not permit us to please ourselves.

Such is the opposite of what we say to each other and how we think and act. We say 'I'm in love' or 'I love you' when someone does something for us or if we feel a strong emotion or connection with or towards someone. Couples say this to each other...but what they are really saying is I feel a strong emotion about the action that you've done and the way it made me feel.

It has little to nothing to do with the previous notion of 'I love you' because I lay down my life for you. I prefer you (over me). I serve you. I edify you to choose good even if I need to lay down my freedoms for you.

This is love......

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Work




This word, term and use of the word "work" is soooo revelatory, multi-layered and vast! It's almost like the word "law"....once you think you've got a hold of it...the revealing of it in scripture keeps unraveling and kicking you in the pants! Romans 14:20 gave me a new perspective on this word "work"....it states: 'Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.'  Then 1 Corinthians 3:9, 13-17 is bananas: "For we are God's fellow workers...you are God's field...you are God's building....each one's work will become clear, for the Day will declare it." ...then Ephesians 2:10 states "for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for 'good works', which Christ prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Could this all be talking about the work of our spirit(s)?...Could 'the work' be the spiritual growth in Christ? The transforming into His image?...the growing in Grace (2 Peter 3:18)? Could it be that it is referring to more of who we are and who we become and less of what we do??

The more I read Romans the more I see where 'the law' refers to and is spiritual....and the works of it are also spiritual...they are driven by our inner man and our desire to 'work/serve' God & others through faith with a willing and glad heart. It is less about the physical nature and what you can accomplish through the flesh.

To work the 'work of Christ' is both spiritual & eternal. Both pure and right.


(See also John 6:28-29)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Suffering

We don't talk enough about suffering for the cause of Christ. Almost everything we do in our western society and even large parts of the world revolve around 'how can I make my life more comfortable, more stable, and more enjoyable for me. How can I make decisions that will cause me to experience the least amount of pain and suffering.' This is how we structure our lives. We rearrange and strive for everything based off this subconscious thought. We don't 'count it all joy' as James implores us to when we are going through. Neither do we 'glory in tribulations' as Paul encourages us (Romans 5). Is this do to our weakness? Our ignorance? Our denial/rejection of what should be? ....what is it? It's interesting to note the life of Paul. From beatings to imprisonment Paul had endured much suffering for the cause of Christ. These trials had taught Paul to be content in all circumstances....Paul left the Philippians with a note of encouragement during one of his most difficult time of suffering: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (It is sad how most we've used this phrase as a cliche of sorts to accomplish random life goals.) Even though Paul was in prison, facing uncertain future, Paul wrote this thank-you letter to the Philippians to express his abundant joy in what God was accomplishing through them. Oh how we could learn from Paul's sufferings! If Paul-lived today...I wonder what would be in the letter written to the church in America?..."The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Church in America......"