Saturday, June 22, 2013

Red-Letter Christian

Red-Letter Christians

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:4-5

"If someone is nearly blind, you write HUGE SCRAWLING LETTERS! Is someone is nearly deaf, you SHOUT LOUDLY! If someone is spiritually unaware, you speak in DARK SAYINGS and PARABLES! Jesus did this."

Some Bibles have the words of Jesus printed in red. What did Jesus say. The Holy Spirit was to bring to remembrance all that Jesus said and did. Notice the red letters in the Book of Revelation.

The language of Revelation would be familiar to a First Century Jew. John is instructed to draw on familiar forms to speak of our world and all that is taking place. Principalities and powers are spiritual forces allowed by God to test us and to refine us as gold is refined in fire (Rev 3:18). "Be thou faithful unto death" is the rallying cry. We claim the "Joy unspeakable and full of glory" even though we do not understand. "How long Oh Lord?" Until the Purpose is completed.

1. Who is Jesus?

"I once on a train was approached by a Japanese student who saw me reading a book about Jesus. He didn’t know much English. He said, "Can you tell me about Jesus?" I was about to get off the train. I simply told him (he didn’t know the story) that there was this man who was a Jew. He believed that God’s purposes to rescue the whole world were coming to fulfillment. He died to take the weight of evil upon himself. He rose to launch God’s project and to invite the whole world to join in with it and find it for themselves. How long did that take me? 35 seconds? That’s more or less it." N.T.Wright [compare John 4:21-24.]

I love Wright’s focus on Jesus. Older generations tend to start with the New Testament epistles, while younger generations tend to start more with the Gospels. Some teach people about Jesus through books like Romans. Younger people (post-moderns) would rather go straight to the Gospels, preferring to learn from history. They are going to connect more with watching and hearing Jesus teach and minister through reading the Gospels. Some of the older people, who may have more of a church background, are often more interested in doctrine and will be more interested in learning about Jesus through the teachings of Paul.

The good news is, Jesus is central in both approaches. Both approaches are helpful and effective. The main thing is that we are out there teaching people about Jesus, no matter what our approach, and let God work on their hearts.

2. Believe in Jesus!

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." John 20:30-31

"Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." John 12:44-48

3. Jesus in Revelation.

"I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this." Rev 1:18-19

"But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." Rev 5:5

"Resurrection-language in the first century. Resurrection is not about someone’s truth going marching on while their body remains in the grave, but about bodies coming out of tombs. I suggest that at the heart of Paul’s theology (doctrine), and of his Damascus Road experience, there lay not an idea, but a person; that the historical human being Jesus, not merely some abstract Christian idea, was what grasped the historical Paul and set him about an historical task; that this task was, as far as Paul was concerned, to establish and maintain not philosophical academies but historical communities in which love would be historically lived out, awaiting the historical moment when the world of space and time would be flooded with God’s presence as the fulfillment, not the abrogation, of history itself." N.T.Wright

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
Rev 22:12-13

"And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." Rev 22:17  [John 4:13-14]

Monday, June 10, 2013

Father To The Fatherless

Father to the Fatherless

   "We live in a world that desperately needs to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the full gospel, not just the parts that we like or that seem comfortable.  It is a daunting task, but one made easier when we accept the profound grace, wisdom, and power that the God offers us through the Sacred Scripture, sacred tradition, and the invitation to grow in lasting relationship with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit."  Dr. Kreeft

   "But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.  Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name Yah [Jehovah], And rejoice before Him.  A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.  God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land."  Psalms 68:3-6

   "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord."  Eph 6:4 (NLT)

   "Father?  How can I love my father?"  So many people today carry hurt and insecurity because they didn’t have a relationship with their earthly father the way God intended. But no matter how you were raised or where you are in life today, you do have a wonderful Father in heaven!  You were born with a purpose and a destiny. God promises to meet all your needs, and He is the Father to the fatherless and defender of widows!

    "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."  Romans 8:15

    "Christ came to a rebellious world, not to condemn it, but that through Him it might be saved. The glory of Zion's King is, that He is a Saviour and Benefactor to all His willing people, and a consuming fire to all that persist in rebellion against Him. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty, that He may be truly said to load us with them. He will not put us off with present things for a portion, but will be the God of our salvation. The Lord Jesus has authority and power to rescue His people from the dominion of death, by taking away the sting of it from them when they die, and giving them complete victory over it when they rise again. The crown of the head, the chief pride and glory of the enemy, shall be smitten; Christ shall crush the head of the serpent." —Matthew Henry

    God is my Father!

    "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet."  Luke 15:20-22

    Every morning when you get up, look up toward the heavens and just think and know that your Heavenly Father is smiling down on you. He loves you. He believes in you. He will guide and protect you. He will never leave you. You are His most prized possession. He has you in the palm of His hand. As you open your heart and allow Him to heal you with His love, He’ll meet every need that you have. Choose forgiveness and allow Him to strengthen and empower you to fulfill the wonderful destiny He has in store for you!

    "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." 1 John 1:5

    "Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining."  1 John 2:8

    “And you look at that parable of His about the unjust judge where the woman bangs on the door day after day saying, “Give me justice, give me justice,” and only after she does that for a long time does he give her justice. And amazingly Jesus says that is how you have to pray, as if God is just waiting for you to exhaust yourself banging on His door then He’ll give it to you. He wants that banging."  Dr. Kreeft

     "Father in heaven, thank You for choosing me as Your own. I open my heart to You today and ask that You fill me with Your peace, love, and forgiveness as I follow Your ways. In Jesus’ Name. Amen."