Life’s Greatest Mystery

Life’s Greatest Mystery

 

In Colossians 1:26-27, Paul speaks of a great mystery which has been “hidden from ages and generations, but has been revealed to the saints.” It’s this mystery which makes Christianity so totally different from any other religion in the world. Yet this mystery seems to be misunderstood even by many Christians.

So what is it? It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It’s the absolute indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in the inner most part of you, leading you, empowering you, changing you, and growing you to reflect the attributes of God Himself.

All other religions have laws – lists of do’s and don’ts – which, if followed, are supposed to bring people into perfection. But our faith is different. In our faith, our lives of sin are forsaken at the cross of Jesus. We accept His sacrifice for our sinful nature – and then we accept the empowerment of His Holy Spirit to  walk away from sin and into the life He has for us.

That’s why we know that we have authority over sin, sickness, and poverty. The “Greater One” lives on the inside of us and causes us to overcome the evils of the world…if we are relying on Him and not ourselves. (more…)

Read The Bible, December 30

Zechariah

What a rich book is this! Just loaded with imagery and revelation about God’s plans and His kingdom. In fact there is so much that I can’t possibly approach the full meaning in a few words. So let’s take a look at some highlights.

Zechariah, like Haggai, was a restoration prophet – prophesying to the Jews after they returned from exile in Babylon. Out of fear they had stopped building, and had to be prodded to begin again.

Starting with an admonition not to be like their fathers, Zechariah continues with visions similar to John’s revelation. Angels on horses patrolling the earth. Four craftsmen who will throw down the horns of the nations which have terrified Jerusalem…”Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”(2:13) The Lord is on the move, and big things are about to happen.

A man in a vision goes out to measure Jerusalem, but is stopped by an angel. No longer will Jerusalem be a city with walls, for there will be many people in it. The vision speaks of the day when the true Jerusalem will be the city from above, in other words, the church of Jesus Christ. And in that day, the Lord will be a wall of fire around her, protecting her by His own hand. (2:4-5)

We see the two olive trees standing by the golden lampstand. (You might remember these trees from Revelation). They symbolize the anointing of God – His Holy Spirit. Then comes one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts.” (4:6) What God does, He does by His Spirit. No flesh can accomplish the purposes of God.

As he speaks of many events of the future, Zechariah comes to the moment when he says that the “Lord will be king over all the earth, and in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” (14:9) He is prophesying once again about Jesus, the Messiah. Every knee shall bow to the name of Jesus.

I hope you will find the time to spend reading and re-reading this great book. As you prayerfully read, you will find much wisdom awaiting you.

Revelation 20-21

This is it: the back of the book. If you want to know how it’s going to end, or if you want to find out that justice will be done, you have it in these two chapters.

First we see that the devil and all of his companions will finally be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Their day of tormenting the earth is over for good.

At the great white throne judgment, everyone great or small will stand before the throne of God. The books will be opened, and everyone, great and small, will give an account for their life. Did they receive the gift of the Lamb’s sacrifice? If so, their name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If not, they have chosen to go with the devil and his crew.

Then a new heaven and a new earth will be revealed. Ones with no sorrow; no tribulation.

“And he said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Then the bride of Christ is revealed, and she is the new Jerusalem – the city without walls, coming down out of heaven. God’s kingdom, the church, is the new Jerusalem.

Actually the first fruits of this started showing up when Jesus said, “It is finished,” on the cross. After He paid the price and went to heaven, sending back His Holy Spirit to live within us, God’s kingdom was here. His kingdom is here now, living within the hearts of His people.

That’s why just any ole religion won’t do. There are not many paths to God; there is only one. And His name is Jesus.

Only through Jesus can men and women be cleansed and have the Holy Spirit living within them. It’s not based on good works. Good works will come, of course, but they will be the fruit of a life lived with God’s power and wisdom within. Artificial fruit won’t hack it. It has to be the real deal.

Yet for those of us who want to accept the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we have His life within us now. We are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and collectively we are the new Jerusalem. His kingdom.

So right here, right now, there are parallel universes. There is the natural world, of which we all are a part. Then there is the spiritual world – God’s kingdom – which supersedes the former. Supernatural wisdom, ability, peace, joy, and strength are all available to those of us who wish to allow Him to live within us. Those of us who want to be part of His kingdom, His Jerusalem.

The day will come when that is all there will be. That’s what we have been reading about in Revelation. “And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.”(21:24)

Exciting, isn’t it?

Read The Bible, November 12

Lamentations 1-2

Now if somewhere along the line you began to think of Jeremiah as hard and cruel, you will change your mind now. He is broken-hearted over his nation, Israel.

The city of Jerusalem had once been called the “perfection of beauty; the joy of the whole earth.” Now it is totally destroyed. The nations around about who have envied Israel’s splendor, now are rejoicing over her destruction. They are “hissing” at her as they go by.

Everyone is in shock. These people have been raised to know that they were God’s special people – called to bring the Messiah to the earth. Even when they were disobedient, they would get warnings but they were still protected.

Yet as the warnings became more persistent, these people refused to listen. When the prophets proclaimed that repentance should come, the majority of Israelites wanted to stone the prophets  If they could just shut them up, everything would be ok. They wanted their ears tickled, not wanting to hear the truth.

Well, the prophets were from God, and their word did come to pass. Alas, if only the Jews had listened.

But, as we know, God is not through with His people. As we will see later, He is with them even as they are led off to Babylon.

Hebrews 8

Not only do we have a new High Priest, we have a New Covenant. (In fact the word “testament” is another word for “covenant”).

If the old covenant had been perfect, there would be no reason to replace it, but it wasn’t perfect. In fact, no one ever became righteous by the law. The law pointed out sin, not righteousness.

If only we can get this, our lives will be so different. In this day, “the law is written in our minds and put upon our hearts” (V.10).

Now things are different. Jesus has made us clean by His blood, and His Holy Spirit is living on the inside of us. We are now God’s holy temples, the many mansions of God. (John 14:2).

If we continue by meditating on His Word and spending time with Him, our lives will grow to be more and more pure all the time. His Word feeds our spirits and causes them to grow. As a result, we are not only purer, but also more powerful. We are God’s people.

Spend time with Him, worshipping Him, and there you will see your life changing. You will go from “glory to glory” as you do.

“This is the day which the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) The dispensation of God’s grace upon His people. The dispensation of His Holy Spirit leading and guiding us into all the truth.

This is our day to rejoice!

Read The Bible, October 28

Jeremiah 14

We are backing up a little today to get into something important as we study God’s dealings with mankind.

This chapter alludes to the origins of Satan. At one time, he was Lucifer, the angel closest to God in heaven. He was called “Star of the heaven” and “Son of the dawn.”

Later (in Ezekiel), we will read that he was beautiful and gifted. In fact, it was his great beauty and talent that led him to fall. Pride entered in, and it was all over for him.

In verses 13-14, Lucifer says in his heart that he is going to ascend to the heights and be like the Most High. He thinks that he can overthrow God.,but he is going to be thrown down to the Sheol, the recesses of the pit.

So the beautiful Lucifer becomes the lowest of the low. Eventually he will be cast into hell forever.

One day men will look on him and say, “Is this the one who made the whole earth tremble? Who shook kingdoms?” (V.16)

He’s crafty. He wants to trick us into rebelling against God along with him, and he does it by tempting us with pride. When under the influence of the devil, God’s creation can put themselves up to be God. They can exalt themselves, thinking that all of the keys to life reside within themselves.

From the fall of Adam to Jesus, man had no power over the devil. He can’t be seen, so men didn’t know who their enemy was. They thought that their ideas were their own – whether it included hate, murder, sexual perversion, or pursuit of drugs and alcohol. They didn’t realize that their enemy was trying to woo them down the wrong path.

In the meantime, Satan was out to destroy mankind.

But God had a plan. He would initiate a covenant with a man who would be true to him – the best that he could. (Abraham). Through that man He would bring forth a Son to die for the sinful nature of the world, and then men could be empowered back to their original state.

They would have wisdom and discernment. They would understand the ways of God, and they would commit to His will in the earth.

So you can see where we are now. Some day we will look on Satan and be shocked that this is the one who troubled the whole earth. He will not look beautiful and gifted as he once was; instead he will look shriveled and inept. In the meantime, we need to know who our enemy is – trying to get us into pride.

But we will resist him, and he will have to flee. In fact, the gates of hell will not prevail against us plundering his territory and helping others to escape.

Read The Bible, July 29-30

Psalm 49-53

In this group of psalms we encounter the selfish rich and the unbeliever. (The fool who says in his heart that there is no God).(53:1). It’s clear that their lives – and their eternities are not to be envied. They may have a few moments of pleasure, but their pleasant lives are short and destruction is their sure end.

Yet in this group of psalms, there is one which really stands out: Psalm 51.

Do you remember the story about David and Bathsheba? He had an adulterous affair with her while her husband was out to battle for the nation of Israel. Then, when she became pregnant, he had her husband killed so that she could be his wife. Certainly that was the low moment of David’s life.

God sends Nathan, the prophet, to David with a message. He tells of two men, one rich and one poor, who lived in the same vicinity. The poor man had only one lamb which he loved so dearly, while the rich man had many. Yet the rich man went over and took the single sheep of his friend. Then Nathan asks, “What should be done?”

Of course, David is outraged at such behavior as he begins to suggest retribution and punishment. Then come Nathan’s famous words, “Thou art the man.” (II Samuel 12:7)

Many people at that point would try to justify themselves or deny any problems existed, but not David. Even though his sin is great, he seems to be shocked back into reality at these words from Nathan. “I have sinned against the Lord.” (II Samuel 12:13). Then come his repentance and turning back to God.

This is where Psalm 51 comes in. This was written by David as he faces the great sin of his life. Be gracious to me, create in me a clean heart, restore the joy of my salvation. All of these words pour out of a repentant heart; a heart which deep within wants to know God and walk with Him.

This quickness to repent is precious in the sight of God. So many want to cover their sins and pretend they aren’t there. If we deal with the sin in our lives, God is quick to forgive and wash us clean. He makes us whiter than snow, and restores the joy of our salvation.

So don’t ever be afraid to go to God with an honest heart. He knows it all anyway; you’re not hiding anything from God. Be honest, receive your forgiveness, and move on to the next level with God. There is tremendous joy in such humility.

Romans 1-2

As we begin the letters written by Paul, we enter a new dimension in our walk with God. We have been through the beginnings of creation and the earliest years. Then we have witnessed the Abrahamic covenant and we have seen how God walked with the Jews over the centuries during that phase of history. We have witnessed the life of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection. We have also seen the early history of the church, with the Holy Spirit being sent to live in the hearts of men.

Now we are into the letters from Paul. When the Holy Spirit was sent back to earth, a whole new dispensation began. No longer was man necessarily separated from God. Now, because of the new birth, man could have God living inside of Him – in his heart. The Holy Spirit in the hearts of men can give them insight which was never before possible. Also new anointings and new purpose.

Paul was the one God chose to reveal the mysteries of this new dispensation, and the revelation is shared in his letters. As we read the next books of the Bible, we will encounter the most significant parts of what our Christian life is all about. We will begin to see what Jesus has done for us, and begin to understand what God wants us to do.

So we start with Romans. Paul begins this letter, as he often does, by stating the foundations of the Christian faith, as laid down in the prophets of the Old Testament. Then he goes on to say that the gospel of Jesus is now to all people, the Jews, the Greeks, and even the barbarians. It is to all who will receive the gospel and believe it.

When we get to 1:17, we come to a famous verse. This is the verse which ignited the Protestant reformation under the leadership of Martin Luther. At that time in history, the Catholic church had fallen into lots of falsehood and manipulation. When people sinned, the priests required great retribution as payment. (Often the priests were getting rich off of the sins of their followers). Luther happened to see that the “just shall live by faith.” We are saved by faith. His revelation changed history.

As we go through the letters, I want to encourage you also to ask God for fresh eyes on what is said. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you as you read?

One thing is for sure. No one has ever lived up to the fullness of what Jesus paid the price for. As we continue each day reading and listening to His Spirit, we will grow in our understanding and our ability to carry out God’s plan for us. If we continue, we will continue to grow until the day we die.

I want to reach all that my Father has for me. I don’t want to sit down at any given point. I want to keep growing until my last breath! That’s God’s way.