16August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August16 How did God fail? Two pictures. A picture of Israel not being able to sustain a focus on their miraculous God for any length of time; seems the harder He pushed the more resistant they became. The second picture one of the successful ministry of Paul to the Gentiles. One from the top down nation to individual. The other bottom up from the individual to the nation (or nations). The difference? The empowerment of the Holy Spirit brought within us by the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God had failed in the first instance, what then is it that drove us to need a Jesus Christ? God did not fail. The situation surrounding sin and our sin nature is much much deeper than we would carnally allow. Thousands of years were spent ahead of time to prepare us for this stark conclusion. There is no other conclusion left to be made for God did not and can not fail!
19August2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 August19 The world by wisdom knew not God. Today's reading in Psalms leads us through some magnificent praise; not just empty praise, but, praise filled with particular knowledge about who God is and what God is doing. One has to seek deeper into it to see just how deep this knowledge really goes. By starting today in Corinthians we see a different knowledge, a knowledge the world would call knowledge that doesn't lead to any particular knowledge of God, a form of knowledge that God has promised to put to an end. We see a local church that should be a place to praise such magnificent praises being torn by divisions. The world's knowledge would see that and determine that this god type knowledge is as defiled as the rest; that is what the world knowledge is seeking to find from the god knowledge to begin with. To the un-pure in heart everything is defiled, everything is relative, everything is a personal perspective, it's knowledge is based entirely on just that. By the time Paul is finished we see this situation in a different light, a light where no one is to glory except in the Lord. What advantage then has the believer? That he is the Lord's. That the Lord will do with him what in the long run is merciful and right.
20September2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 September20 Today we read Solomon's conclusion that we should fear the Lord and keep His commandments, In Paul's testimony we see a man that did just that. It looks quiet a bit different than we might expect. Paul is not the only to suffer to bring us the wisdom and instruction called for by the truth. Truth must suffer the hands and tongues of the foolish. Fearing God is not in fearing what others may do to you, it is putting all of this aside for the unmovable service of/to God.
4October2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADPLAN1 October4 The Law and the Spirit. Today we find Isaiah speaking of the man on the street view of a rebellious people fleeing to Egypt to get away from the anger of the Lord. There is no doubt that living under the Law is hard for it is meant to be impossible. One eventualy has to come to the conclusion that it cannot be done and that all efforts to fulfill it are futile, might as well run or ask for the Lord's election to cease. Being the Lord's standard barer amongst heathen nations is no less an impossible task; much easier just to fit in especially when this Law thing just aint workin'. In Ephesians, Paul is writing to us of taking on the power of the Lord's might, preparing daily for spiritual warfare. The difference in this case is that the Law has been fulfilled by one man as it was meant to be, in Him we are equipped to fight His fight of dominion and principality. The Law served it's purpose leading us to Him and now we move forward in Him toward the heavenly task at hand by His strength, His Holy Spirit.
24October2012 @ @ RandyP comments: index:BIBLEREADINGPLAN1 October24 There is such a difference in tenor between our two readings today (the past several days in fact). In Jeremiah we are coming to a close of a great era of the Old Testament covenant. If God's intent was to show the necessity of the quickly approaching Messianic covenant, He certainly has done that. So we see proceeding our Lord's arrival the inability of the Law and Covenants and the utter disobedience of each and every imaginative heart. In Timothy however, we are reading of a young man, the second generation of the faithful, Spirit filled and Spirit lead, with the ability to better consider and obey the things of God having been transformed be the sacrifice and ascension and atoning blood of said Messiah. Surely there are still problems. It is still a daily choice and decision but, now at least that decision can be made and by grace fulfilled. God is justified in all that has passed by the tangible results achieved in the fulfillment of the first covenant within the envelope of the second. Signed, Sealed, Delivered!
5December2012 @ @ RandyP comments: I was thinking this morning in Daniel that this Old Testament is taking me through as master class in human government. I have seen from the time of Joseph through to the Pharaohs on through Joshua and Gideon and Saul and David and the line of kings down to the captivity the inner workings of a nation Israel/Judah. Now in captivity, I see the inner workings of one great empire and then a progression of other empires. I have seen the multiplicity of influence, the rolling cycles of affluence and poverty, the directions pulled and torn and put back together. I have seen leaders that stood for right, stood for wrong, stood for their own honor and shame. I've seen deceit, impulse, corruption, conspiracy along with murmuring and dissent. I've seen exile and banishment and insubordination and assassination. I've even seen the decrees of wise kings used against their better intents. I read today that the kingdoms of man are ruled by God and that He appoints whom He will over them. What then is trying to show us? What is the lesson I should take from this? Why has He spent so much written space to paint this picture for me? This master class... what does the final graded paper say? It should spell out our dire need for the coming kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the Son of our living God.
January1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus geneva@Matthew:1:1-17 - 42 generations. A span of some 1950 years. Peoples lives and peoples future hope in God. It is a long time preparing mankind for the Savior's entry. There has been nearly a constant steady movement towards this moment when Son becomes incarnate flesh. Things are about to take a sudden turn. The taskmaster, the Law is about to be fulfilled and the Law of Grace about to superceed it. What do we find as the faith our Lord possesses in this geneology?. 1. His faith in the Father's plan, His judgment, His timing. 2. A faith in the Holy Spirit's abilities once the Son comes into this flesh and a faith in the same when He departs. 3. A faith in His own complete submission. 4. A faith backwards to include salvation to those this life has passed, a faith present into the salvation of those with whom He will be here with for 3+ years, a faith future toward the salvation of thise who will believe based on these present men's testimony. It is a large faith that we hope to look more deeply into as this journal continues.
January5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:2:19-23 RETURN FROM EGYPT - The savior of the world could have grown up or even based his ministry from anywhere, Egypt, Rome, South America, etc... It was not the Father's will though; the plan was to save the world by fulfilling the promise made to Abraham and the exact details given long ago to the prophets. Joseph is not told Nazareth specifically. Unless he himself knows of the prophecy, his own fear and protective sense leads him to the fulfillment of God's prophecy. Our Lord's faith, again by previous consent, is that He has come first as and for the children of the covenant and by that then also the rest of the world. He has also come that all prophecy may be fulfilled. No other religious icon has been prophesied to such extraordinary detail and fulfilled it thus passing the test of our scrutiny. Our faith needs to be placed in exactly that!
January6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:3:1-12 THE BAPTIST JOHN - The old prophecies fulfilled are beginning to flood forth. John is now a fully reasoning and consenting adult and so is Jesus. John is sent to prepare the way for Jesus and the way is through repentance. Jesus is relying on the timing of the Father in order to kick off His active ministry. God's timing is likely based upon the Levitical shadow or type regarding the Passover Lamb and it's requirements. He is close to beginning the time of inspection. The preparations made these millenniums are many and exact, just as the requirements of the role Messiah; they are not just anything some ambitious wanna be wants them to be. Jesus is prepared to go up against every imaginative preconception (and there are many even amongst the most devoted and zealous) to achieve His Father's will. It is His faith. Is it ours?
January7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:3:13-16 BAPTISM OF JESUS - Two main keys: 1. That righteousness is not just something we are or He is or we become or He has imputed on to us, it is also a action/event/command needing to be fulfilled toward the greater whole of righteousness; 2. The reason for doing a righteous thing does not need to be known or well reasoned, suffice it for now, without a full explanation, it is proper for the two of us inclusive to do this. Not just anyone can make the second claim. It is because of the righteousness of Jesus that the act being proposed can be suffered face value for now. If it were a scoundrel asking us to do this on face value no questions asked, we would have been bamboozled. Our Lord's faith then is first in the righteousness of the Father and the Fathers plans/abilities, second that this act/event further fulfills righteousness, third that we would be able to see/sense His sum of righteousness and therefore know it is safe/proper to act upon His promptings without having to know every detail before hand. We can fulfill the righteousness He inclusively intends to act out with us. John may have plenty questions about why this had to be done later that day, theologians may have many similar questions today, it is a rather odd event. Suffice it for now Jesus has led John into doing something very righteous; like two polarities of faith met together on both men's part (He has the faith in you that you will join Him in doing it, you have the faith in him enough to follow along and get it done).
January11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:4:23-25 GOING ALL ABOUT - Three important parts to Jesus' early ministry, teaching (instructing), preaching (exhort reproof convince) the gospel of the kingdom, healing (taking from) all manner of sickness/disease. These three went hand in hand. Word of Him spread throughout Syria particularly because of His work with a diversity of untreatable diseases and torments. Of these torments there is listed a descending order, the possessed, the lunatic (moon struck or moon cycled), palsied (epileptic). People from the region packed in tight around him to follow. Word traveled in the form of rumor and innuendo as much as by testimony no doubt faster and deeper than a hundred thousand watt radio antenna would today. In modern social media terms the word went viral reaching even to the hard hearts in Jerusalem. Today we have faith in broadcast mediums reaching vast masses. Jesus had the faith of one on one contact; what you see the Father doing, that you do.
January12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:1-12 BLESSED ARE - If sin is the cause of all unhappiness/dread/curse, then theses attitudes go a long way to setting things back aright. Jesus is saying that these are 'the' attitudes... be this... thus we remember them as the beatitudes. These attitudes lead first to the acceptance of a Lord and Savior and then continue after as a result. The produce is properly a spiritual happiness, but, the word happiness in English has been considerably diluted. There is a notion of joy filled contentment even in the face of adversity, a sense of virtuous imperative moral excellence and the courage to stand against the viral hostility of wickedness, the calming certainty of a future tense reunion and just reward. Blessed is not only a vision of how man will one day be, it is a image to be held by those of such deepened spiritual traits. These are all traits of putting it all into God's hands, these are all traits heavily shunned by the natural man. The flesh is at enmity with the spirit. Jesus would not have declared this had it not been His faith.
January14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:17-20 THE LAW BY JOT AND TITTLE - The faith of our Lord is written all over this passage. First that He did not come to destroy the Law/Prophets, He came to fulfill. There is the letter of the Law and the spirit of the law. The spirit of the Law is that it was meant all along to be a vehicle to convict all men of their sin and drive men to repentance and acceptance of the remission of sins secured in the blood of the promised Christ. Christ fulfilled the spirit of the Law by proving even to the most ardent adherents of the Law their utter inability yet to escape sin (as in their adherence they broke every single one of their commandments putting Messiah to death). The relevance of the Law never ends until the sinner is brought to the point of depending solely upon the grace and righteousness of Christ. The second article of faith presented is that the righteousness that He would impute upon us believers through His death and resurrection would far exceed the assumed righteousness of even the most zealous and fanatic adherers of the Law. His faith is quite unlike any other's indeed.
January15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:21-26 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (MURDER) - 'Okay, so this is the way you have been taught, the way that I am about to teach you is the way it needs to be taught'; this is essentially what Jesus is saying. For instance, consider murder (one of several similar considerations). The key twist is the word 'therefore' because it ties two very different thoughts (so we think) together. You are bringing your gift to the alter. You remember or become aware of another person having ought against you. What ought would another have? An ought that places you in danger of judgment/tribune/hell fire. The alter that you thought you were standing at has become the throne of a Judge, in His hands you have been delivered to stand for the sin of murder. How so? A person was kept from heaven because you religious person were angry at him without cause. A sister was kept from heaven because you made her to feel her worthless. A struggling sinner was kept from heaven because he was called or was treated like a fool. Who have you kept from heaven's gate in your own pursuit to this alter? Who soul have you damned? This is a murder beyond all murder, the murder lasting eternity; the type of murder never considered nor taught against by men. Our Lord's faith is in a much higher calling, a completely different frame of mind and self image. All men fall short. All men have done this. Where then have we repented? Where have we turned our course? Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him....
January16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:5:27-30 BUT I SAY UNTO YOU (ADULTERY) - The common teaching again falls short. It sees sin as actions and this action of adultery as mutual and consentual. Sin is of the heart however. You could cut eyes and limbs, anything would be better than nothing, but, you would still have the heart. The purpose of the law is to point us to the need for Christ, for Christ to be our fulfillment, not to provide a way for us to legislate against the flesh. One would have to legislate it in so many areas to the point where it would become sick and tired of any law and rebel against it out of spite. You cannot legislate the heart. The heart has played a trick already on us in defining adultery down to a remote and distant action. How many other other areas has it done this? It is Jesus' faith that the Law is correctly in place and can be used with the correct discernment to show us this errant heart. Remember He said 'blessed are thou'. Why? Because He 'has not come to destroy the law but fulfill it'. In what way then am I blessed? Because broken and humbled and contrite we turn to Him to be our fulfillment. It is our Lord's faith that Law and Grace (a specific grace - He Himself) work hand in hand to separate/lift men from their sin stained hearts.
January25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:6:25-34 NEED - There are some things within our control. There are things outside of our control. There are things that consume our time and worries that probably shouldn't that we think that we must take control that pulls us far from God. It is not that He doesn't want us to have what we truly need. It is not that He doesn't know that we need them. It is that He wants us to seek His Kingdom and righteousness first. Busy buddies and worry warts are what we are, always an excuse, always another reason, little progress or control, many things spinning further out of control, and for what? Something that He knows that we need? Something maybe that we don't need? Something that may bring further worry and desperation of control? The Lord's faith is firm, God's glory, God's Kingdom first. Once settled and firmly planted then prayer, once prayed for and trusted then patience and obedience and then a willingness to accept that if it is not His will it may not be needed.
January27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:7-12 ASK SEEK KNOCK - Let's take this in context for a minute. If we were to ask for what we have already ready, what would be asking for? His Kingdom to come and Will to done on Earth as in Heaven. Our daily bread spiritually first and for our physical needs. Forgiveness of our trespasses in like measure. To be led from temptations such as judging one another from such hypocritical eyes. What does it mean to seek this? To seek it from Him? To seek Him to develop it within us? To seek as a distant wish or as daily presentable action? To hunger and thirst for His righteousness? What does it mean to knock then? It is the faith of the Lord that you have at least this in you. That you will see the need to ask. That you will search through our darkness for His light. That you will knock for the door to be opened for you. Would He really say no to this or provide something other?
January29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:7:15-23 FRUITS - Two lives are examined by their fruits; a third is implied. The two are extremes but produce similar corrupt fruit, false prophets and those who presume to do the Lord's work but are not. To Jesus the equation is simple: good tree good fruit, bad tree bad fruit; no in between to consider. What in life is so stark in comparison? Spirituality! It is either born of Him or not. Does that mean that we do no wrong? No that means that He is able to produce good fruit through us as we abide in His tree. Think of all the elements discussed so far in this sermon (low and meek to self/reflecting His light/having all righteousness fulfilled in Him, convicted under the fullest sense of the law, non-hypocritical/judgmental, will be done, seeking first.... ). Is there any doubt that this tree can produce nothing other than good fruit in the big picture? The faith of our Lord sees the stark division between good and corrupt, works of flesh and of spirit, fruit born of Him versus all else that is not. He is sure of our path.
January31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:1-4 I WILL - Was the leper part of the show or part of the testimony? Jesus wanted him to be healed but, did not want him to tell anybody except as required by the Law. If part of the show, such a cleansing would garner great press and recognition. If part of the testimony a man would be healed and the Law fulfilled. Strangely, as a consequence, it seems that straight/honest fulfilling of the Law would bring greater press through controversy. The faith of our Lord does not operate on human terms of what will certain people think or what result will stir from this, it operates from the center of what is right to do. If it stirs controversy amongst this or that group, fine, it is because they are unaccustomed to seeing what is right being done. If ever you have opportunity to ask our Lord if He wilt.. be prepared for Him to say yes He wills it... oh and all of the consequence that comes along with that. The man might have better asked "do you want that I should stir up the hornet's nest by you doing simply what is right?" You see the faith of our Jesus do you not?
February1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:5-13 MANY SHALL COME SIT DOWN - The Centurion was a gentile Roman captain over one hundred. When the Lord says many from the east east and west, He means to include non-Hebrews at a banquet alongside even the Jewish patriarchs. When He says I have not seen such faith in all of Israel He is pointing to the fact that amongst His own something has been left amiss, apparently with their perception and acknowledgement of His authority. An outsider is portrayed as being in the inner circle while many of the covenant children are left out in the darkness. The man's faith and perception of authority is made an example of. The faith of our Lord believes that both Jew and Gentile would be able to see and sense His authority and thus be petitioned of to be put to use for the good of others. We are not told of the servants faith, but, we do know that he was healed by the faith of another convinced of our Lord's authority.
February2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:14-17 HE TOOK AND BARE - When Jesus healed where did the sickness go? The answer may lay in the word bare. Some would say that He took it into Himself and thus bare it. Others would say that He lifted it or carried it away to some other place and thus bare it. The fact is that we do not know for certain. There is the verse that say by His stripes we are healed; those stripes generally considered to be at His scourging before the Roman soldiers; suggesting more of a payment/price paid rather than a consumption. Could these healings have been paid on a promissary note? The faith of our Lord in this regard is in the prophet Isaiah, that through him (and select others) the Father had beforehand mandated the steps to be followed by the Christ. Not only was Jesus given the ability to do so He had the mandate to follow, it was then left to His willingness and obedience to accomplish. Even if we are not sure of the where sickness, we have the what how and the why.
February3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:18-22 HOLES AND NESTS - Our lives are filled with priorities. One man believes he can set Jesus as his number one priority, Jesus asks him to consider more carefully just how much of a priority that commitment could become. Another man has Jesus as his priority but another priority temporarily becomes more the priority, Jesus asks him to reconsider. The Lord knows our hearts and our lives. He knows that they are controlled by priorities; priorities that we ourselves set. At this particular time, given His short stay, His disciples priority had to be one thing and one thing only. Even during His time here at times He worked within other peoples commitments (Peter's mother in law for instance) to make His message known. Now that His pathway for us has been paved, though we be not removed from being His disciples, neither are we to remove ourselves from our vows and obligations. The message is that we make those vows and obligation and we set those priorities; not to make those rashly or hastily or foolishly that they become a distraction from our true obligation following and serving the discipline of our Lord. Not to let those involvements become an excuse for not proceeding further in the Lord's work. Understand how much sacrifice and commitment our discipleship must at all times be. Our Lord's faith is shown in how single minded and dedicated His obligation and priority was and is.
February4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:23-27 YE OF LITTLE FAITH - A storm rages and Jesus sleeps. Were the disciples to have the faith enough to speak to the storm on their own to allow Him more sleep? Were they rather to have the faith that Jesus the Son of God Holy Redeemer was not to die in a sudden storm fierce as it was? Who brought the storm? In whose hands are is the storm controlled? Storms rage around us today, even storms of emotion and circumstance and consequence and accident. They are beyond our control. They threaten us with disaster and injury, even death. Is it not that even in death God is in control? Is there not anything not within His control? Where then is the fear? Trust the Lord, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him. Our Lord's faith is that in us (as hard as it seems for us to find) that within us there is the ability to have this certainty of mind, that He can lead us to this place of faith/trust, that our fear of Him be not displaced by the fear of the storm.
February5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:8:28-34 BEFORE OUR TIME - Demons have a time? We dive into the realm of the uncomfortable. Most of us have reduced this life down to a series of good and bad choices. Devils and demons are but characterizations of thought patterns/tendencies. What makes a thought pattern jump from two men into a herd of swine making them rush to their death over a cliff? The faith of our Lord knows a much larger battle with fierce and possessing entities that are just as aware of their allowance and time frame as He is. The people that watched and the people of the city that later heard about this reacted in a very troubling way. Some commentaries suggest that they were troubled by the loss of the herd. I suggest that they were troubled by there limited understanding of discomforting spiritual realities.
February7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:9-13 I AM NOT COME BUT - 'Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners' tells a lot about the frame of mind of the so called righteous. We are all sinners. The fact that we would not consider ourselves sinners would preclude us from inviting a savior into our home dine. The message is not so much in who Jesus ate with but, who would allow themselves to eat with Jesus. Some would feel it an honor to host the Lord, to invite as many friends and citizens along with to meet with Him, to celebrate a moment face to face with divinity; others would be disgusted and ashamed at the very notion. These are the so called righteous. There is not much one can do for these people, they feel no need for a savior. The faith of our Lord is not going to beg and plead at the door of these people for whatever tiny morsels that they are unlikely to offer. He goes where He is needed and accepted and invited. Maybe that will make them mad/embarrased enough to reconsider their indefensible position.
February9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:18-26 THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE - It is one thing to go along with the flow against Jesus, another when presented with a deep need that you rebellion cannot negotiate and He becomes your only chance. Jairus is a ruler of the synagogue. We are not told whether he was a believer either before or after, we only know that he was for this moment. The woman with issue took it upon her own, nothing had been said about touching His garment to be healed that we are aware of. Surely many people had touched Jesus, she however believed. Had they not need or faith or initiative? Is Jesus looking for a certain type of faith? Perhaps a faith planted by the Spirit alone that becomes all one's own? A inner faith that compels a person to do the unlikely? Propels a person against the tide of the mass of commonality? The faith of our Lord does what it sees the Father do. In a crowd of many outward faiths it sees the lone inner faith as a indicator of the Father's doing and therefore does the Father's will to it in response.
February10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:9:27-34 SEE THAT NO MAN KNOWETH - Why wouldn't Messiah want all the press that He could get? Two blind men and a man possessed healed, never so seen in all Israel? Is it a test of these men? Are the crowds getting out ahead of Jesus and what work He really must do? Yes and yes Is it a principal He is trying to teach or a fulfillment of the Law He must follow? Yes and yes The faith of our Lord is always in view of the big picture. At His level the picture is vast, the considerations manifold yet simple. In obedience and submission to the Father He exhibits the character traits of patience and temperance and humility and spiritual alertness and knowledge and......
February15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:11:25-30 GOOD IN THY SIGHT. Jesus prays to His Father. It is comforting to see that He prays for what is good in His Father's sight; disturbing that He thanks Him that the opposition of the wise and prudent is divinely intended. After all, if you cannot trust the wise and prudent who can you trust? We must first ask does He hides it or they hide it from themselves? Isn't the title wise and prudent self sought and self proclaimed? What is wise and prudent truly about intellectualizing a god of ones own making? A God for something other than what He is? God is someone not to be thought up but, someone revealed. Not revealed by the thinking up/down of the wise and prudent, revealed instead by His very presence, His expressions and mannerisms, His passions/dissatisfactions/involvements. He shows Himself. A person must accept who He is, as He has shown Himself and then so come to Him burdens and all. Like as to how He came to us, meek and lowly, we come to Him. The faith of our Lord is that this is all good in the Father's sight. Not everyone will agree, they will think themselves wise as they want to be. Not everyone will allow themselves a real glimpse, they will think themselves prudent. If they are not willing to see the God in man who now for this moment stands before them they will not see man God chose to become in order to most convincingly reveal Himself. How wise and prudent does one really need to be if not to see what is so persistently obvious?
February20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:12:46-50 STANDING WITHOUT - Is Jesus saying that His mother and siblings are not doing the will of the Father at present? What were they going to tell Him? That they were being followed every where they go? That strange cults were beginning to develop outside the house regarding Mary? Was the public's curiosity making carnival acts out of their own lives? Were they projecting their own stress upon Jesus and asking Him to come home, rest, let things cool down? Were there threats circulating? It would all be conjecture, but, surely their quiet lives have been burdened as well. This lifestyle is not anything that they would have chosen themselves, at times it may have even been understandable for them to resent. Jesus is not pushing them away, He is desiring for them to come along side. He is asking them to consider the larger picture, the adoption of a great many into the brotherhood of the kingdom. The faith of our Lord regards many issues as one; it all comes down to obeying the will of God. It would be easy to be pulled aside by this problem or this concern or that wise motherly counsel. His followers must be able to follow along with Him even through the impossible and uncertain as much as is both humanly possible and spiritually empowered. Without this frame of mind we too could find ourselves outside the crowd insisting to advise Him on something that in the grand scheme of things is of little consequence.
February22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:24-30 WHILE MEN SLEPT - The Kingdom sowed but, certain men were apparently given the responsibility of watching over the field and did not. While they slept the enemy came in and planted near identical yet false seed. This parable goes hand in hand with the original Parable of the Sower. Wouldn't it be good to know that along with your personal struggle to bring forth fruit that there is a field (world) of other believers going through the same process? Wouldn't it be equally as good to know that not everyone that you would think by appearance is of the same stock? No one would know until the final fruit was harvested. It is interesting that all the enemy had to do is plant the seed and then go about his way. Are these darnel seeds subject to the same process of root and depth and parching sunlight as the wheat? Most likely. Is one required to grow the other? Apparently not. What then is the difference and how can they be identified? Not even the servants from above can tell until the final fruit is bore. Once intermingled, removing the one would uproot the other. Imagine for instance the prospects of the Protestant church if ever the Catholic Church was removed or vise versa. The faith of our Lord is in that while this did not need to happen it was going to and did happen because men do sleep. It is deceptive to say that all paths lead to God when not all seed leads to the same fruit, when not all seed is planted to the same intent by the same kingdom. While we cannot identify the measure now amongst ourselves, He certainly can when all things come to fruition.
February23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:31-35 SECRET FROM THE FOUNDATION - There may be a way to look at these parables and have them confirm what we have known all along. Jesus intends though to reveal things that have been concealed up until now and this/that parable. One must ask 'what do I understand now that until this parable was not known'? To do that one must search deeply with more than a passing glance. If the tiniest of seeds becomes a substantial tree, if the Kingdom hidden in three measures of meal raise the entire loaf, what new thing then does that mean? I think that the casual reader gets that He is talking about increase or growth here. Do they get what it is that is growing? Isn't the example of leaven also used as a analogy to spiritual corruption? Isn't the mustard seed used of the size of faith? Commentary cannot answer everything for you. Somethings simply must be searched out by one's self. To know that the true meaning is deep down into what has been concealed is an invitation into the parable. To know that parables are only opened up to the honest and sincere of reverent faith is a discipline. It is the faith of our Lord that all those that truly ask/seek/knock will find this wisdom and that this wisdom will grow out into every area and aspect of the believer's life. That the lives of believers together and united will combine throughout the world and ages to be supernaturally more than can be found in just one person.
February27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:13:53-58 BECAUSE OF THEIR UNBELIEF - The people of Nazareth were astonished but, not in the right way; they were astonished that the son of their well known carpenter was causing such a national disturbance. They may have even been witness or over-hearers of the burden Jesus' fame was placing on the rest of the family in these parts. Perhaps there was an embarrassment of their own. Here we see the limits of miracles, they are easy to write off, overlook or to see in the wrong light. Some would theorize that Jesus needed others to believe that He could do it in order to make a miracle happen, therefore He did few miracles during this time frame. It seems more likely that there was no point in wasting the efforts if they were just going to produce more of the same feelings of offence. Jesus limited Himself to mostly teaching, not that He didn't want to offend but, that He didn't want any progress to be set back. As always, He did what was right/given. The fact that this response from others was predicted by Isaiah (and others) should have alerted those in the know to caution or even quiet optimism. kjv@John:7:15-16 John records that Jews even marveled thinking that He was untrained. Jesus' reply was quite simple 'My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me'. The faith of our Lord is in knowing that human perception is always biased but can be swayed in some with much effort exposing falsity and truth. Others this effort merely offends. Miracles/signs can get into most doors but, not necessarily their hearts. You do what you can do with these doubters and leave it in God's patient hands for the rest.
March1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:14:13-21 LOOKING UP TO HEAVEN BLESSED - Jesus performs miracles for many individuals, for the twelve disciples specifically, and for groups large and small. After a day of many individual healings it may be easy to loose sight on the 'for whom' and 'by whom' all such things are done. Jesus looks to the heavens. The disciples offered a logical plan and conclusion. Jesus took their humane effort in this case releasing the masses to fend for themselves as an excuse for not putting their wellfare into the Father's hands, thanking Him for what they did have and asking His blessing upon that. In all it is a perfect conclusion to day filled with wonder, a time to refocus on 'whom by' and 'whom for'. It is the faith of our Lord that it is the Father and Spirit by whom these things come about. They are doing it for the Son. The Son is to stand apart from all others so that He may lead the people's hearts back to them. He stands apart because the Father and Spirit are doing for Him. This is not as much about having the power to do so as it is the power being done for Him. He in turn thanks and blesses and continues to be obedient to the course laid out.
March3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:15:1-20 OFFENDED - The base context throughout this passage is that it is not what goes into the body that defiles but, what comes out. Lying, deceit, accusation, threats, perversity most assuredly. What is that is coming out in this case? Accusations based upon tradition, traditions based upon a heart and lips though religious far from God. How far from God? Far enough to sanction the breaking of one of the Ten Commandments honoring father and mother. Break one commandment and you've broken them all. How far? Far enough to have the gall to accuse God in the flesh of breaking a tradition of the elders. If broken by this one tradition, how many other traditions as well? What we must realize is that everything surrounding Jesus at this moment is the product of everything that mankind has been able to do up until now, God given or not. What was true in Isaiahs' age is just as true now. None are found righteous no not one. Without Christ the person this is as far as any measure of religion gets. What goes into the heart is nothing but the refuse of other defiled hearts and whatever ones defiled heart can make of that. No heart is not changed until the person-hood of the risen Christ dwells within. God is not experimenting with the right combination of things until He gets human nature right. Everything the Godhead has done up to incarnate Christ has been to show the absolute human need and dependence for Christ. What Jesus sees around Him in every direction is nothing but venomous tongues, even in His disciples. The faith of our Lord is that what He is doing at this moment, what He is about to do on His cross is exactly what is needed for mankind. In one sense He is repulsed by the utter defilement constantly exhibited by all. On the other hand His overwhelming love for those who will eventually believe and come to His light is much much greater. His being here is not by mistake. What then is our response? Are we offended also?
March5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:15:29-39 HOW MANY HAVE YE - Ever notice how Jesus is using whatever the disciples have available? In the days of the Exodus He brought the manna from Heaven out of nowhere; it had nothing to do with what anybody there had available. Now that He is the manna from Heaven, whatever the disciples have available He is making it work. Maybe this is the way His healing works at times as well! I think that we often skip passed the three non stop days spent by the multitude witnessing/partaking in this healing fest; that is really the true miracle, dinner is just the 'how do you top this' communion experience. Imagine being there during this time and what you would have seen. Imagine recapping these many events hillside in the calm evening air with the taste of fresh fish on the tongue. When Matthew says glorifying the God of Israel, he means glorifying! If anyone is counting back in Jerusalem, every person that is healed by Jesus is one more than any Priest there has been able to do. Wouldn't you count that as a sign? If there was to be a legitimate trial upcoming, do you not think that some of these three day thousands would be more than willing to take the stand? The faith of our Lord is in the testimonies of individual people; multitudes of individual people. Remember, He is not telling us of His successes, transformed people like you and me are. There are more details given in these accounts than Matthew could ever take note of himself, these are surely his collection of other's testimonies.
March6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:1-4 YE DISCERN THE FACE OF THE SKY - Is there any difference between Satan tempting Christ at the temple peak and the Pharisees/Sadducees here on ground zero? In their minds these men are simply demanding an indisputable sign, something in/from the heavens that would prove once and for all that Jesus is/isn't the Son of God. Where in their scriptures was it ever said that there would be a sign such as this given? Was it not said rather that the sign given would be that He would heal the lame and the sick, proclaim deliverence the captives, be rejected by His own....? Is not the fact that they are asking for a sign a sign in itself? Why would He not just give them/us a certain sign? What about doing so would be tempting God thereby proving that He is not the promised one? Are we certain that such a sign would even be accepted? That such a heavenly declaration would not be an immediate then eternal curse to our rebellious hearts that would go about it's own way regardless? The faith of our Lord is in His installments of faith into man. He believes in the faith we will someday have even though there is no certain and present sign. He believes that with His slow and steady and methodical pressure that the heart will be brought to see their errors of it's direction and will turn eventually to follow His. A sign if it weren't for tempting God would only scare the heart further away; destroy the process that He is using to build faith and trust and desire within us with. Besides, there are great and wondrous signs big and little all around us, if with discerning eye we were to see. Faith comes through the knowledge of the righteousness of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ kjv@2Peter:1:1
March8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:13-20 WHOM AM I - The base context throughout is who Jesus is, not Peter, not the Church, everything is His, God is unchanged about not being a respecter of persons. God has revealed who Jesus is first hand to the disciples for whom Peter is often spokesman, they in turn at this point are to tell no man. The label Messiah/Christ unfortunately has a much more corrupted political meaning outside the group than Jesus wishes to draw attention to at this time. They are the very first, there was no one other to tell/reveal it to them, in this respect they are truly blessed. The foundation He has built already in them through revelation knowledge and in person witness/testimony is the Rock that He will continue to build His Church upon. The Rock is who Jesus is. The keys for Peter are the same keys as to any gospel believer/evangelist, abiding in the righteousness and knowledge of God and Son and applying all diligence toward becoming fruitful. With faith in the person of Jesus Christ and obedience to the will of Jesus Christ both heaven and earth mirror each other in the ability to bind and loose for the Kingdom sake. The faith of our Lord in who He is and what the Father is doing through Him towards us. It is the same faith He calls His gathered believers to hold and identify with. It is not to establish an intermediary papal system; it is a direct assembly/submission to Himself and His immediate Lordship alongside other like minded servants. Nothing, not even death, not even a papal version of itself, will prevail against this type of Christ infused church.
March9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:16:21-28 THINGS THAT BE OF GOD - We are at a turning point in His ministry. Up to now Christ has been working with the disciples in a way allowing the Father to fully reveal Jesus as Christ to His disciples. They began with an intellectual consent enough to follow Him and after all this time and work and experience they are now at the point they know this spiritually in their hearts. Now comes the hardest part to reveal to them where one's entire understanding and framework shifts. Even with Peter's confession of Christ he is accused of savoring the things of man; concocting a storyline that fits his comforts and earthly desire, his vision of how man might accept Jesus. Jesus instead must die for sin, all sins, the sins of all, all the sins that man is uncomfortable in acknowledging. It is a gruesome death ahead that brings forth eternal deliverance. This is the course ahead that is of God. The deliverance from sin, much like Israel's deliverance from Egypt, leaves us in a wilderness/void where new life must begin, develop, rely solely upon and carry out God's will exclussively. All that is left us in this birthing void is to bare the symbol of deliverance, His cross to the fallen world surrounding. As much as we are ambassadors of His death, we are ambassadors of His resurrection and accession, we are foreseers of His glorious return. The faith of our Lord is that as nice and pleasant as it might be not to have to go through with this, the plan from Heaven is correct, it is the only way to secure what has been design for and promised and guaranteed. In our knowing this plan however, we must face the true depth and depravity of our sins as well as the hostile even violent reactions of other sinners against it.
March12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:17:24-27 - Jesus has taken for Himself an oath of poverty; anything He must put forward must be provided to Him by the Father. While He technically would not be required of the Father to pay the Temple Tax (because He actually is the Temple), He pays the tax just the same in order not to add fuel to the priest's fire. The faith of our Lord is shown in this oath of complete poverty. The utter reliance on the provisions of the Father, how and when to call for them, the knowledge as to where these provisions maybe found, all go into His definition of faith. He legally has the position of authority not to have to be required certain customary things, to rather demand such observances/taxes be paid Him, however, the course forward at this time is best served by putting what is due Him aside. Though late in the eyes of the human temple, He pays out of His sworn poverty for Himself and His disciple.
March22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:20-28 EVEN AS THE SON OF MAN - Christ has dramatically humbled Himself in ways that we barely comprehend from His previous state to the point where not even who sit at His future right and left hand are not in His power. He has given it all to the Father that He might minister to man and give His life for many. Few could ever say that they ministered unto Him but, that He ministered unto them. His answer settles a lot of question and dispute on both sides. As His Father ministered through Him to man, He is to continue ministering through us to man. The focus for us is to be as Him, humble to the point where it is Him working through us. Humble is not determined by standing or position or even how many possessions and effort that you and your family have volunteered into the ministry; it is an attitude and viewpoint that is pervasive through out your being. The faith of our Lord is in His Father. He submits Himself to whatever the Father wills to be, knowing that whatever is willed to be is throughly righteous because the Father is righteous. His cup is filled with the Father's will if even to death.
March23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:20:29 WHAT WILL YE - The mechanics of a crowd are always interesting. What makes a crowd behave as it does? In this case the expressed will of the multitude was for the two to hold their peace. The two are blind, this is their opportunity to regain their sight, yet the majority see them as a disturbance. The crowd may have been made up of those sympathetic to Jesus as they were following Him out of Jericho. Their intents may have been for Jesus' good and out of respect. The requests upon Jesus may have been so frequent that they had become common and distracting and keeping them from reaching their next destination. Jesus saw the event differently; not as the crowd obviously and perhaps not even as the two petitioners, but, as the Father did. We have seen so frequently that Jesus did not do things to garner more press; He forbid receivers to publicly tell. The faith of our Lord is focused much more on the present moment and the needs of the people around. The two men need their sight, the crowd needs to look beyond themselves. The impression of the truly needy should not be "oh he was too much in a hurry" or "yea she had to get somewhere" or even "should I disturb them". It should be "He was there when I needed/called" and "the first person I ever saw was the one who ever really saw through to me".
March25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:12-17 HOUSE OF PRAYER - Though not recorded by Matthew, John depicts this event as the second time in but a few years that Jesus has done this temple cleaning. The problem continues. Currency exchanges and selling doves (the poor man's sacrifice) were not wrong per se, they were actually needed especially this time of year due to volume. We believe that either the profit margins or inconstant arbitrary rates or the location (Court of Gentiles) or all were amiss. The temple priest surely were by now aware if not complicit in the unfair trade. A house of prayer is made a den of thieves and many more than just the vendors were involved thus giving the Temple a bad public reputation. The issue more than anything is how quickly these weed like practices reseed and take root and flourish. It leaves us to wander if in the Lords eye it is not seen the same today. How much of what we know as our "Temple" experience isn't clouded by greed and profiteering and unscrupulous religious industry? The faith of our Lord is in the access for all men to a common place of worship. A place for congregation. A place of prayer and healing. A place for the perfected praise of devoted adherents young and old alike. A place undefiled for sinners and weary souls alike to return to their most holy God. He knows that without Him it just doesn't happen on it's own; in fact He is likely to displease those to whom He has given charge.
March27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:23-27 IN LIKE WISE - He says you can answer your own question with one word, the answer to my question will be the answer to yours. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. He waxed strong in the Spirit waiting in the desert for God's word to come. Once word was received he then preached a consistent message the repentance for the remission of sins telling the Pharisees specifically to bring fruit worthy of repentance. He preached in the spirit/words from Elijah preparing the way of the Lord. A great many were prepared by him to hear the words of the one to follow, not the elders and chief priests however, their road was paved to be hewn down like a fruitless tree, there was shown no fruits of repentance. It was a worse sin in their book for Jesus not to comply under their authority than not comply with God's. Whose authority? Well it certainly was not theirs. John had called them vipers to whom wrath was to come, urged individuals of them to flee. Where are these men now today? Where is their authority gone? It is gone. Why indeed did they not believe John then? What was there to fear from the people if they themselves were correct? The faith of our Lord is in the authority of God as proven out by the Holy Spirit. Things have been done, steps made and proven out for millennium by the Spirit to prepare these next few days, things that Jesus if a man could not have possibly prepared for himself. All the pieces now will fall together, mind you not accidentally but, quite masterfully. Had they really been concerned about proper authority they would have traced all the steps.
March29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:21:33-46 MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES - Why did the Lord choose the Jews in the first place? To be husbandmen over His vineyard. What happened to the fruit of it? It was withheld, kept by them for their own purposes. Did the master not try to get the fruits back? He did, they would have nothing of it. So where are we at now? The master has sent His Son and they are days from killing Him. Why would they do that? Because they know that He is the rightful heir of the vineyard and they want it for themselves. Wait a minute...they know? Yes they know and thereby reject. We are not told how many know, but, it is enough to make useful minions of the rest. It is also suggested that this take over has been the plan since the vineyard was given over (WOW!). How could they not know with all of the prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes; do they not know their own treasured prophecies? Sure they appear to have their intellectual arguments but, in the end what it all comes down to is that they want what is His for themselves. So they perceived that He was talking about them, but, did they repent having been called out? No they sought to lay hands on Him. This changes our perspective of the faith of our Lord knowing how He sees them, knowing that He knows what they have done to those before Him, knowing that this vineyard is the Fathers and He is going to get it back. How He gets it back is what is a surprise to everyone but the Father. There is a twist in here however, the multitude still only see Him as a prophet.
March30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:1-14 MANY ARE CALLED - Of those called, there are those who refuse, there are those who make light of (some of which who strike back at the messengers), those that accept, those who come but are irreverent or ill prepared. The first thing to clarify is that we are not talking about the bride or any portion thereof rejecting Christ, these are strictly guests talked about here. The wedding is going to happen regardless and will be well attended by a most appreciative crowd kjv@Revelation:19:7-9. We are told even of bride's maids not having enough oil for the wait in their lamps having the door shut on them kjv@Matthew:25:1-10. If these people are outside of the bride then we must consider who the bride is. Some would say the Gentile Church; who then are the guests from the highways? Some would say the Raptured Church; where then would Tribulation Israel fit in? Some would say Israel and with Old Testament reasoning; but, she would have to be dressed in the righteousness of the saints kjv@Jeremiah:3:14. Israel would give cause for many of the invited to reject the invitation or run out of oil in the wait. Truth is that we may not know exactly who/what (as in institution) the bride consists, but, we know of the bridegroom. If we are merely guests it is best for us to be dressed as a reverent guest and not ourselves as a bride or a party crasher. If it is the institution instead that we are to witness then we best be reverent to the institution as well so as not the upset the groom. The faith of our Lord is in the marriage made by the Father. He has given Himself wholly and unreservedly for Her. If we see Her as tarnished or unacceptable it is very likely that we know nothing of who she is or have mis-identified Her altogether.
March31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:15-22 WHY TEMPT YE ME - Even today men seek to catch Him in a lie or contradiction, to entangle/corner Him in His talk. They present their question with flowery praise, the good lord, good prophet, good teacher, but, it is all done to disprove Him to believers or potential believers. They counsel together on the internet, in the class rooms, in the courts and temples. They come in both religious and political varieties. Strange/unlikely bed fellows intermix to come against Him. How do we know/spot them? By just that At the core they are hypocrites You will notice that the argument is over a penny, small change when it comes to the loftier things of God. With Simon kjv@Matthew:17:25-27 Jesus had made it a point that during an captivity/occupation tribute is extracted heavily from the occupied in order to lessen the burden on the true citizen. The Jews had whistled their self sovereignty away by rejecting the Lord and were now being taxed for it by their conquerers. The coin is Caesars just as they are. kjv@Luke:23:2 Jesus is accused of exactly the opposite of what He has said at least twice now. They are utter hypocrites. They puff Him up to tear Him down, they intellectually place Him in positions that they think impossible to defend when He is not in that position to begin with, they bring questions that are of little consequence to the overall debate. Render to God what is God's? They cannot, it is no longer their's to render. The faith of our Lord is in knowing that we will be met by such people. Though we give these people too much importance given their track record, though we might think they are finally coming around to see things as we do, they are constantly there and the same regardless. He believes that the truth will be proven out, the truth about Him, the truth about them.
April1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:23-33 YE DO ERR - The Sadducees dict:easton Sadducee were largely defined by their non belief in the resurrection. They attempt the same brain twister on Jesus that stupefied so many a Pharisee. Unless one knows scripture dict:naves Resurrection which points to life after death and considers God's power kjv@Jeremiah:32:17 kjv@Philippians:3:21 one is left to fall into this conundrum of false logic. As to there being no marriage in the resurrection, I believe this is a new revelation or a composite of a larger base of scriptural doctrines. The Sadducee's case seems to involve more human logic than any particular scriptural knowledge, apparently they had not thought through the logic enough to have foreseen the logical resurrection confirming answer Jesus could use to easily escape their supposed trap with. We must be careful ourselves when scripture suggests something and our logic is spent exclusively attempting to disprove it; even more so when we cherry pick single scriptures to say what they do not. The Sadducee's are gone as a power by the time of the destruction of the Temple AD70, suggesting a change of public sentiment regarding resurrection and proof of Messiah hewing down the fruitless trees of that time. The faith of our Lord is rooted deeply in scripture and the sovereign omnipotence of God. It is also in the purpose to which He created man initially for. He is and will forever be the God of the living.
April2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:22:34-40 THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS - When Jesus said that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets kjv@Matthew:5:17 now basically He is saying that He came to love. Likewise we should love, but, without believing on Him first we find that we are unable to love to this extent. For most people love is this large nebulous puffy cloud of whatever they want it to be. How do you love God with all heart/soul/mind when you know nothing about Him, when He is merely whatever you want Him to be? Likewise, how do you love yourself and thus your neighbor without knowing the type of love God has for you? God's love very well could be shown in His law convincing us of our sin and the need for change, our inability to that of ourselves. God's love could be shown in the prophets pointing us to the single person from which that change is possible. God's love could be shown in that while we were yet sinners He sent His Son to become the propitiation for our sins. How does one love to the full extent without such blessed knowledge? Does and mom and dad truly love their dear newborn child without first knowing the actual love of God? Can a child be raised in true love having any doubt or reservation or false pretense about God's hand and doing? If not a child then how so a neighbor? And the prophets, had they not constantly told us where God was going with this, would we not have known who Jesus would be, what He would do, and where to look for Him? So a question is asked to tempt Him, a question that they probably know the same answer, love. Two opposite directions occur at the point of believing on Jesus, man's and God's. The faith of our Lord is that these two commandments properly seen and practiced will revolutionize the lives of it's adherents. His love which is the Fathers love will shine through to our love, our true love will be made to sprout. Our love separated from His love is darkness. His love separate from Jesus is imaginary.
April4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:23:1-39 MOSES SEAT - There is a place of honor and respect given by Jesus to Moses and the seat that remains that is to be carried on by His disciples. The life of a follower is a completely different mindset however because it is focused on Christ. Righteousness now is inputed because of His sacrifice and a new life is enabled because of His resurrection. This is what the Law had been pointing us to. Without the righteousness of Christ none of this is remotely possible. The woes described of the Scribes and Pharisees are more properly woes to any man who pursues righteousness minus Christ regardless of affiliation. In a sense these men are the most zealous and ardent of all religious men, but, this is the closest men's efforts can come to the target. Take the commandment to love the Lord your God. If Christ Jesus is God's offer of righteousness and such offer is pushed aside, how can it be said God is loved? Having justified not loving God in His entirety, what else then can be justified? Are not all the commandments broken at that point? The seat still holds authority (even if held by others) especially as schoolmaster over to those who have not received Christ, but, also to those who have. Do as they bid but, not as they do. It is almost a challenge to show them how in Christ things must be done. Remember that if God did not want them in the seat, they would not be in the seat. Today, these particular affiliations are not in power, but, others just as hypocritical often are. There is a means and a purpose in the life of the believer for this. Given all of these woes and faults the Lord's command has never been to pack up and start up anew. The faith of our Lord is firm, we must follow His lead. We don't have to know why it is this way only that He see's it as such. We are challenged considerably, we grow. We do as He see's fit in the midst of such darkness, He is honored. A rebel? no. A revolutionary? Yes!
April5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:24:1-35 AS LIGHTNING OUT OF THE EAST - It will be easy to deceive a great many but, perhaps not the elect. I think we have the impression that in the end days people just don't believe in God, that intellectualism will have out grown the need for God. The end Jesus teaches is of people flocking to false Christs. We live in an age now of relativism, a necessary precursor to an day of multitudes desperately gasping for any breath or hint of messianic slight. In a sense He is prophesying the end of intellectual relativism. Given that the gospel will have reached the ends of the earth (may have already have) this is a sign of just how much the people of Earth do not want to accept Jesus and will violently oppose Him, His approaching kingdom and His devoted followers. The injection of truth into the world causes it to fester and boil as if to expel it, but, somewhere in this process God's plan is fulfilled by producing vaccinated sin immune children from Earth to inhabit eternity. As the heat and pressure are turned up to final boil many false messiahs will bubble up leading to one ultimate false Christ; a world nearly of one religion. I suppose that there will be a sense of relief, even victory. Then, however, there will be an undeniable lightning from the east. The faith of our Lord is utterly remarkable. In so few words, how could such detailed insight into human nature and God's plan be revealed? Though we have a confirming picture of this event (disturbing in how quickly it can come about) in 70 AD it is clear that 70 AD is not this event. There will be no dispute remaining when this prophecy comes about.
April7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:25:1-13 OIL/LAMPS - I guess that I have always figured that the oil was faith; half did not have enough faith to last the wait. How then could they ask the wise maids to share fuel for their lamps? In light of the previous passage the oil more likely is the doing of the Lord's work. the fulfilling of responsibility and obligation. How then could the wise share their fulfillment with those that have carelessly disregarded such? The lamp is then faith, a container filled or emptied of oil. The Lord's work is never done, it never runs out. The only reason a lamp would not have oil is because the lamp doe not contain the sense of urgent calling and diligent obligation. Oil has also often been associated with anointment, which fits in well with this analogy. How does one run out of God's anointing unless he does not hold himself to do what he has been anointed to do? Watch therefore. Watch for His coming? Watch yourself for what you are doing in light of His coming? Anointing carries the obligation to perform. The faith of our Lord has performed and is performing it's obligations. Many of those obligations he has now delegated to us so as to test and build us up. Many will be thankful of His performance and will be awaiting His marriage so as to attend, not everyone one waiting will be able to perform their duties then because of their failure now to be ready.
April14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:31-35 SMITE THE SHEPHERD... - I don't doubt that Peter meant what He said just as much as Jesus did. I don't think that there was any doubt the Peter was set out to prove it by the strength of his will. Much of my life has been spent attempting to do the same. Here's the problem; much of our will is nothing but pride, before the fall comes pride. Peter ignored the fact that the scattering was according to prophecy. Peter ignored the fact that there were forces at work smiting the Shepherd that the flock would have no control over. Courage never was Peter's short suit, that is why later he would be quoted kjv@2Peter:1 as saying diligently add to your virtue/valor knowledge and to knowledge temperance. It is funny that an evil dictator has no problem finding minions who'd never desert or be offended, a good Shepherd hand selects the type that will but will come right back. The faith of our Lord is in the time and effort He has invested in this core group of men. The experiences and teachings that they have received in the next few weeks will birth a new spiritual understanding and wisdom fueled by the Holy Spirit. The plan is intact and moving forward now quickly.
April16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:47-56 THUS IT MUST BE - kjv@Acts:1:16 David prophesied about the betrayal by a friend/equal/guide kjv@Psalms:41:9 kjv@Psalms:55:12-15 and the crucification kjv@Psalms:22:1-31. All this kjv@Acts:2:23 by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God as Isaiah and others reported kjv@Isaiah:53:1-12. The faith of our Lord is in the Father and the pathway Divinely reported to Him through the prophets. Jesus places a very heavy emphasis on the prophets as should we. In modern times prophecy is uncommon and near silent dry hard ground. We lack to see it's former miraculous operation and necessity in revealing divine depth. Jesus' course was laid out before Him and well written for continuous direction and confirmation. He was out to fulfill it's every word. We should now know that we have the more sure word because of the more sure word of prophecy. We should know the tremendous arm/power of the Lord revealed in the fulfillment of the prophets report kjv@Isaiah:53:1. Modern spiritualism teaches that all things are within ones power, legions of angels can be called by us as well; yet we are taught power and prudence are two separate things. What is all important is obeying God's will, much of it revealed by the prophets, if true for our savior than surely for us.
April18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:26:69-75 THRICE - It would be hard for any Galilean in Jerusalem to deny that He is not a follower of the accused Galilean, his speech/inflections would give him away. No one was fooled of course and the more he tried to deny it the more insistent others became. So why then did he continue? Keep in mind that he swore that he wouldn't. I feel that the sense of personal danger must have been too great. If the authorities wanted to reign in the rest of Jesus' group what better place to start than with the interogation of Peter. Torture could be used to discover the whereabouts of the remainder. The mood of the public had certainly changed as well, Peter may not have made it into the hands of the authorities if taken by the hand of the mob. Peter's testimony of what Jesus had declared could be used against Jesus as well. There is so much unknown and suspicious tide to consider. Earlier Peter had thought that he understood the pressures that would come to bare against him as a disciple of the captured Christ; he underestimated the depths that this late night could erode down into and the sentiments of the aroused mobs now gathering. There are well thought out reasons not just cowardice at work in Peter's denial. Extreme danger brings with it different angles and realities that Peter had not before considered. Jesus had considered these pressures and angles though and yet was not condemning. Peter would weep bitterly. A river would flow of embarrassment and shame and powerlessness and complete let down, but, most of all a torrent of love for the man that he had invested all his devotion and hope into. Even though we may not know the full weight of momentum behind this denial, we can certainly sympathize with it as we are just as likely or more so to do the same under lesser conditions. The faith of our Lord understands the pressures His word can bare on us just as much as He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows that what we intend to be/do for Him is rarely what comes out; and frankly He is okay with that as long as there is open repentance and progress made. The way of our lives is a constant correction. This is a real and correctable experience Peter has stepped into that will mold and shape the remainder of his life. Not many would have the guts to step into the danger so far as Peter did, it is almost as miraculous as stepping out onto the raging waters. We cannot say that what Peter ended up doing as he realized the storm set against him was right but, we can say that it was transformative; love and devotion will continue and grow. The Lord knows how to lead us from here in our bitter and broken tears to there into His secure and loving arms. This as much as anything is the trust that we must come to have in Him.
April20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:11-26 WHETHER OF THE TWAIN - One man washes his hands of the blood guilt and the others pour it on to their heads of themselves and their children. Blood by both is made lite of. One cannot be innocent of the blood simply by washing their hands of the matter. The fact is that matters were poorly and unjustly handled in the first place. Pilate proved coward to the pressures of the Sanhedrin. Others cannot take such minute opinion of any man's life so as to not guarantee a safe and judicious proceedings, so as to not be driven by impulse or shrewd coercion. After all Jesus had done to reveal the sinful hypocrisy and false teaching and spiritual callous blindness of the Pharisees/the Sadducee/the Scribes the make up the Sanhedrin, for the general public to be so easily intimidated and manipulated is a sin equal to that of Judas even if this had not been Christ. What then of the evidences in favor, the many and daily healings, the exorcisms, the wondrous and picturesque sermons, the miracles, the possible ties to long held prophecy, the hope of Israel? Were these possibilities no factor to them at all? The blood stains of guilt cannot be washed away. The price of guilt cannot be negotiated by the guilty parties involved. Jesus' blood is meant to redeem but, if it is not accepted as such it becomes a terrible pronouncement of guilt; guilt then, guilt today. There is a notorious thief that is given amnesty by us even at this hour. He is the embodiment of our being so easily turned and manipulated and used as a driving wedge between justice and those that must judge. Perhaps the greatest revelation of our hearts by Jesus was taught without a word. The faith of our Lord is not in the present but, in the future. It is a future ripped free from the clutches of man's continuous evil imagination and heart that is deceptive above all else. It may be a good time to review kjv@Proverbs:1:20-33 in consideration of this particular multitude and then ours.
April22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:32-44 HE TRUSTED IN GOD - King David seemed to have the clearest vision of what the Lord would have to suffer. Many of the articles he would pen into his songs at first reading would seem to point to David or else no one. But, when did David suffer these things he wrote of? Without what we see here happening unto Jesus we would have to conclude that David was near paranoid, highly over exaggerated, consumed with the pressures mounted against him, obsessed with the persecution of the wicked and the silence of a slumbering God. With Jesus we wonder what then is David somewhere in this audience that he can see these things sentenced onto Jesus by the Lord of His Lord? His descriptions are uncanny to the smallest of details; the parting of clothes, the offer of gall, the wagging of heads. Where is David? How did he see this? Who has believed his report? To whom had the arm of his Lord been revealed? While the sign above speaks the official accusation, the words on the ground heard spoken declare the actual accusation, that He trusted in God. This is apparently what one gets for trusting in such a far fetched notion as God, says even the Jews. What would it take for them to believe? For Him to save Himself and come down, but, wait... that would break the commandment of God and of the prophets. In other words, for them to believe in Jesus He would have to break every commandment and become like them. Why would God even want their belief if that is the case? David was deeply troubled by what he foresaw as were the other messianic prophets. Yet in every messianic psalm he come to the conclusion the seed - Jesus would hold true to the end and that the Father would avenge Him with all certainty. David took comfort and inspiration in that. The faith of our Lord is in His Lord the Father and in seeing the plan through to it's end. It is in the words He had had recorded long before hand to remind Himself and to tow us through the dark cloudy mist of perception and truth that we not loose sight of Him. How the Jews lost that sight, it is almost as if they were blinded for the sake of germinating this seed into the far reaches of the Gentile nations by their rejection. The more even that the report/arm of the Lord is being revealed.
April23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:45-56 MY GOD MY GOD - The gospel writers record Jesus saying seven things on the cross, Matthew records one - the most important. Few there on the scene are going to know that Jesus quotes from kjv@Psalms:22:1, but those of us that do know and are interested we should go on to read the entire chapter kjv@Psalms:22. There is a reason now that Jesus qualifies as the governor among nations deserving of all man's praises and adoration. He despised not the afflicted nor turned His face from them, the meek shall be satisfied, because that His Lord was not far from Him and saved Him from the mouth of the lion. He poured Himself out like water, His heart melted like wax, He was cast upon this will of the Father's from the womb. Now the course has been fulfilled. The full weight of sin had been transfered upon Him; because of which the Father stepped aside momentarily and was far from helping. Jesus yelled out victoriously with tremendous strength when no strength should have been left in Him. The faith of our Lord was in that He trusted in the Father and the Father did deliver Him. The weight of sin was not as great as the pain of separation and the drowning fatigue of death not so great as the defiant liberating yelp against it. Those that saw these things feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
April25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Matthew:27:62-66 THAT DECEIVER - We see the hatred or else the guilt of the priests and Pharisees turning to paranoia. As they saw it the first error was to be deceived into believing Jesus to be Christ, the last error to be deceived into believing His resurrection. If one could be deceived into either of these errors, one could be deceived into staging events and evidence to deceive others. Apparently, Pilate did not trust the Jewish temple guard either. Roman guards were already attached to the temple, so they were to be used to secure the sepulcher. So the tomb was sealed, move the stone/break the seal, and the guard was placed around it. This is the day after. The question becomes, with the evidence of the resurrection so central to the debate, why wasn't more done by either side to make sure the evidence? Given the accusation of deceit by the one and the accusation of extreme hatred and blood guilt by the other? The only one truly that could have done any better would have been Pilate and he had attempted to wash his hands of the matter. Others might feel that Jesus or the Father could have done better, but, really how much is enough? How much secured evidence does it take to make the issue convincing to ardent skeptics? Will there not always be areas of doubt? What about doubt and debate though is unhealthy? The Word of God has always been carried to the farther reaches more by its' opposition than it has its' friendly alliances. The faith of our Lord is in His read of the nature of man doing what it is going to do, the plan of God accounting for exactly that, consent and opposition to Him both carrying out His objective. Remember that He/we has thousands of years of historical insight into spreading His word ahead of this to know man's sparse obedience and coagulating opposition. He knows how to get things done.
April26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus HAIL - I would think that Jesus imagined days like today as a young man; this day and the day after the judgement. Imagine the joy that He would have actually coming to this group of women. I love how the four gospels give an unintentional sense of confusion (not contradiction) and chaos over the events simply because there would be. Much like eyewitness testimony in a court case, we are left to piecing details together into a cohesive sequence, much is happening at one time. There is confusion, excitement, joy, fear, tears, relief, reverence, fulfillment, disbelief, new belief, all the emotions that one would expect. For the angels watching upon this, they have to be busting out in heaven don't they? This isn't the end of their work by a long shot but, this resurrection is a huge piece. Jesus seems very calm and dignified about this all, still focused on the task ahead. At the same time He has to be excited about seeing and revealing His living breathing glorified self to these loyal brethren. Like a liter of young pups they will be running up quite surprised and tails a wagging, barking gleefully thrilled to see their Master. After thousands of years of preparation for this, this has to be a big moment for Him too. And it seems only fitting that the first revelation was to these women who had been and were this dawn ministering so faithfully to Him. The faith of our Lord is very much like a Shepherd, very much like a parent, very much like a master. The work is hard but, the rewards very pleasing. The work continues but, our Lord of all people has to know how big and great this accomplishment of His is today.
April29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:1-8 PREPARE YE - Luke begins his gospel by tying it immediately to the report of the prophets. The prophets had foretold the series of events ahead of Christ to watch for, Malachi speaks of a messenger preparing the way, John the Baptist fills that roll. The importance of all Messianic prophecy cannot be set aside. God intentionally uses prophecy to show that it is from Him and that it has His strength and power behind it and not man's. John's message was two fold, dict:naves repentance in preparation for the immediate appearance of our Lord. Repentance in and of itself does not save, it acknowledges the necessity of Christ and makes room for the person of Christ to enter. It is the belief that Jesus Christ is the promised savior that actually saves. As an outward confirmation/confession of one's repentance and belief in the coming Messiah John instituted a baptism. John's baptism did not mean to save, only to prepare, we find Paul taking a remnant of John's disciples evangelizing the further gospel to them and baptizing with the Holy Spirit. We then have two major components listed to prepare for Christ, prophecy and repentance, God's power to make what has been said before hand happen, man's power/obligation to change course in very specific manner toward the one prophesied about: Jesus Christ. It is the faith of our Lord in advance of His coming out that these preparations have been fully made.
May1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:14-20 KINGDOM - Jesus mentions the "kingdom of God frequently as do His Apostles kjv@STRING:kingdom+of+God. It has an importance in the message that I fear we often miss. We take the repentance and belief in the gospel and try to run only with that without placing those things in the deeper context of why they are to be done. Jesus is purposely trying to avoid the immediate political connotations that "Christ" or "Messiah" would have to the people of Israel hungry for regaining their own national determination and governance. His kingdom instead begins and ends with Him and what He must accomplish for the sake of all mankind, having done so the portion that the Father will give Him, the spoils of which that He then will divide amongst the many, the kingly role He will play when all things are finally gathered to Him. This kingdom on our part is first sought, received, entered, costly to enter, preached, inherited, rewarded, waited for, seen coming with power, revealed from out of a mystery, within us, entered with much tribulation, etc... The kingdom suggests God's governance/authority/judgment, God's economy/providence, His design and desire and know how. Repenting for anything less is repenting for more selfish reasons. Believing the gospel of salvation/redemption/remission/cleansing for anything less is believing for more selfish reasons. The faith of our Lord is in an actual kingdom that is now in Heaven, for us both there in the future and here in our hearts. It grows like a mustard seed, it is as the little children coming unto 'Me', it is of very glad tidings. It is a treasure. It is a long and determined process much like making fisherman fishers of men.
May4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:35-39 ALL MEN SEEK THEE - Peter leads a group of people in the pre-dawn outside Capernaum. Fame is spreading quickly and the opportunities of the new day are invigorating/intoxicating, perhaps keeping them awake; except for one thing, Jesus their miracle man is missing. There will be a great swell of people coming in from everywhere in the coming hours. People will want to be healed. People will want to be released from demons. People will want a political/religious uprising. People will want to witness miracles, but, will they want to believe in Jesus as the Son of Man? Sure all men would seek after Him, they seek after still today, what is it however that they seek of Him. Peter seeks after Jesus. What are his motives? Good I am sure but, pure? What is best? It is Peters' house that they are staying at, it is his hometown, he doesn't have to leave his wife or his front door step and the lost sheep are coming to him. I am not accusing him nor trying to read his mind, just saying He is new at this fame and miracle thing and the excitement may cloud his judgment/expectations. And the anonymous others with him, are they following Jesus or Peter? Where do they finally find Him? Where Peter's mind is racing with the many opportunities Jesus' mind is settling in worship and supplication to the Father. The settled mind seeks God's holiness, His omniscience, His righteousness, His communion, and from that reverent position receives a peaceful confident heart and direction. The faith of our Lord is not in all the opportunities to use His powers that the others might see it is in the need to maintain those powers and opportunities under will of the Father where all such blessings come. Power makes for itself plenty of opportunities, the focus of prayer makes so that the right opportunity come to light.
May5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:1:40-45 GO THY WAY - Lepers were outcast from the society until given inspection and clearance from the priests. The general population untrained in these matters were to comply with the law in this regard. By showing and telling the people first this man is both breaking the commandment given by Jesus who just healed him and causing the people to break the law by not segregating him until the clear signal was given. There is no doubt that he is healed. Jesus is showing respect toward the law and the rule of order. Jesus cannot be accused of stepping outside this law. He is nearly in a no win situation of either leaving a man in his leprosy, being accused of neglecting the law (which He will anyway) or having His fame spread about forcing His ministry away from the cities. Jesus of course chooses the course of most compassion. The faith of our Lord is clear even when there is no clear choice apparent, to uphold the law by being compassionate even if there is a price to pay or a negative consequence, to adapt to the situation there after as it leads you on the ground. It is a compassion not just for compassion's sake but for the law's and for what God has ahead.
May8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:2:18-22 THE BRIDEGROOM - There are some key elements to consider here. There is the purpose, the occassion, the vessel and the substance. The purpose of our Lord has always been the same, to have the Father gather all things back unto Him. Along the timeline of achieving said purpose, different occassions are brought up nessecitating different vessels and substance. Take the illustration of wine. There is wine for everyday events, there is wine for very special events. Approaching the first coming of Jesus a certain container and substance was called for. Now that He has come in person with the intention to marry a new and different container and substance is required, a vessel and substance of much greater honor as the occasion has dramatically shifted. Not that anything is wrong with the old wine, it has and continues to serve the overall purpose. It is not the purpose but, is a step toward the purpose. Pouring the new wine into the old container alongside the old substance is not good for either wine for the old container will burst, both substances will pour to the ground, the overall purpose will not be forwarded. The same truth can be illustrated in the original question as to fasting. The purpose is constant and moving forward, the occasion changes nessecitating totally new attitude of feasting, the occasion is promised to change again shortly, but, for that brief moment we had a glimps of the expectation and honor of being invitees/attendees of a most heavenly marriage banquet of our Lord. Don't get confused by the changing of vessel and substance as occasions are dynamically driven by His purpose. The faith of our Lord is much larger than the finite things our minds are left to consider. He attempts to illustrate them in terms that we can identify with, really though, how much do we actually understand? Just because it is bigger than we can understand doesn't mean that it doesn't exist or is anything less. Wine/Fasting/Sabbath/Law, these are but things to get us to understand slight as that may be His big big picture.
May10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:7-12 LEST THEY THRONG - Arrangements have to be made for Jesus' safety; not hostile endangerment per se but, eager/desperate. The pressing of the crowds were like those in a famine at a food distribution line where innocent people do get trampled. Perhaps the most dangerous thing is that people now presume that they can get healed simply by touching Jesus. They don't even have to converse with Him or receive His consent/action. We are told of this being true in a few cases but, not as I am aware as a general rule. With this inhibition torn down the people feel free to press in on and through and around anything or anyone that might stand in their own way. Crowd control is always a major factor as multitudes take on a illogical unpredictable dynamic all of their own. As we see with modern terrorist tactics, a crowd can even be used against itself by malcontents when excited into a stampede or incited into a riot. How odd/nightmarish it must of seemed to be packed into a tight space of sickly even demon possessed people all moving in without self prohibition toward the center. The plan was to stay close to the shoreline cutting off half of the encirclement, providing a means of retreat via small swift boat. The faith of our Lord is very bold but, certainly not stupid. The nature of men, the nature of desperation, the nature of crowds is all taken into account. Being a disciple was often like being a body guard, intense, physical, eerie, and dangerous; not the place for mere academics. The whole experience must have been becoming more and more unimaginable to them. The Lord I am sure takes that into account too.
May11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:13-19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:13-19 HE ORDAINED TWELVE - Of several select individuals called to Him in the mountain Jesus ordained but twelve. There is the thought that if twelve why not have fifty, if fifty why not have five hundred....? Jesus is revealing something very substantial about the divine plan at this moment. It is not that He is cutting anyone out, all men are to be discipled under Christ's tutelage and all have been sent to declare the gospel. All men have been given communion with the Lord and been granted to suffer for and as their Savior for their own and the church's edification. These twelve will now be sent two by two to preach/heal/cast out demons. A hundred more will be sent soon after, they will be gifted similar ability but not in the same sense of being ordained. What Jesus is doing is establishing order not just for now but for all the future. The situation now is developing on the ground where both the following of disciples and the following of seekers has grown beyond capabilities of the loose fit organizational structure previous. As the numbers increase and the danger increases, as the training of the select few intensifies, the time has come to make the organization more formal. Think of a small business today that grows into that next bigger level and the changes necessitated by that. In the long run this move proves most valuable to the early first century when many falsely proclaimed to be apostles that most people knew better who their Apostles were. This move even later gave second century scholars a road map to verifying and canonizing certain Apostolic epistles over a flood of lesser. There are weakness of course further out to the system as we see in the centuries leading up to the reformation as men corrupt the system but, the scriptures yet hold true as pillars even in those turbulent times. "Sola Scriptura" (only scripture) (Hebrew old with Apostolic new) becomes the protestants reforming creed lessening but, not eliminating the influence of church held traditions. I believe that the faith of our Lord is in being fully aware of the future Church that He is building and the types of problems and issues it will undergo. These issues may be healthy in that they are a constant stirring of the resolution of mens' intents and wills but, certainly less resolvable for true seekers had He not taken the steps that He just took. His declaration of these twelve gives the Holy Spirit written reinforcement/authority to conduct it's operations on a massive scale after Christ's Accession.
May12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:20-30 - The friends close to Jesus suspect the toll of this ministry on a man to be greater than it actually is on Jesus. Perhaps they are beginning to feel the wear on themselves. Jesus had just returned from a prayer filled time of reinvigoration and reorganization; did they? Jesus' daily life was filled with such moments even in the midst of such business; was theirs? Even when the day became too busy and too crowded even to eat, Jesus would spend entire nights soaking in the Fathers communion; did they? Those that oppose Jesus never seem to tire because there are so many of them coming from so many directions; an endless supply of them so that one individual never has to tire. Add to it that even for one opponent it is so much easier to portray a foe in a negative light than it is to advance the cause and work of the much better light. At this point opponents don't have to reason nor defend what they are saying, just throw it out there like a sniper then run and hide till the next. Eventually the opponent however comes to the point where He has discounted the integrity and work of the Holy Spirit to such a measure that he either passively or vigorously aligns his own self with the workings of the Devil. If the Spirit is working to establish Jesus as Messiah and you are working against that, well matters have become quiet grave for you mister junior devil. Some people might do this for a time, come to the realization of who Jesus is and then repent. For those who continue on however, repentance and salvation are far from reach. What forgiveness from damnation would one ever hope to have? This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, not finding repentance, not allow the Spirit's work to continue inside of you. The faith of our Lord is well reasoned, though we may not allow ourselves to see it as so. Friend's think He is beside Himself, enemies think that He is an agent of Satan, neither of which can defend their statements. Not only is He in line, He does everything spiritual to keep Himself in line. Do we?
May13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:3:31-35 THE SAME IS MY - It could very well be that Jesus' half brothers and sisters did not see Him as the Christ yet. To them He was still only their brother. Mary His mom probably knows too well His heavenly appointment and is having difficulty with what it all means; she may have been pressured into this. It may seem harsh that He would reply to their request in this way, but, it also seems harsh that they would call Him out in front of a crowd. Some commentaries suggest that they were the "friends" or a part of those that were suggesting that He was "beside Himself". I do not believe that Jesus is discounting His physical relationship to them, He is elevating His spiritual relationship to greater humanity and thereby expressing their need to get on board believing in Him fully as their Lord and Savior. It is a difficult relationship to fathom being the half brother say of the Son of God. Few will ever have to process faith in those terms. The time is short however. They will remember His words no doubt when His death comes. Also notice the absence of His dad Joseph, by all appearances deceased. Did Joseph ever come to true spiritual faith? Did Joseph ever do the will of God? We are never told. The faith of Jesus reaches out into all the world but, is also close to home in His brothers and sisters and mom. Their entry into His kingdom is on the same exact terms as all the rest. He is not willing that any should perish but, that they come to repentance and knowledge of Christ.
May14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:1-20 WITHIN WITHOUT WAYWARD - This is a foundational parable that helps us to understand the rest. Principal one is that it is not given for others to receive the payload understanding of these parables; the revelation of said parable is a Jesus to sanctified believer exclusive, spiritually discerned. In fact, no man can come to it complete with out living and proving it out which requires a strong devotion to Christ. Theoretically, a class of college senors can analyze a Jesus parable and probably come to the same initial message that a believer can, maybe to another level or two, but that is as far as they can take it. Because they do not believe in Jesus it holds no further interest, any further meaning is stolen away. Many religions can be/have been formed from borrowing the superficial understandings of these parables; this is what Jesus has always strived to protect Himself from. However, by believing squarely in the righteousness of Jesus the desire will be to search out and grow into the message further. The message has to be applied into the daily life of a believer and experienced fully before the payload Jesus is revealing comes to fruition. The heart to apply oneself to it's growth is where the difficulty comes, as some believers lack the root, others lack the valor and fortitude, others lack the will to keep worldly influences weeded out. As hard as it is for believers to come to this knowledge without sincerity and endurance it is outright impossible for the insincere and academic critic. The faith of Jesus does not cast it's pearls before the swine and it cannot be counterfeited nor universalized. This is utter foolishness to the wise and learned, but, this foolishness is deliberately made to be our wisdom. Take this introductory understanding into the remaining parables and your efforts to live/grow into this word will yield plenty fruit.
May15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:4:21-25 EARS TO HEAR - If a believer and non believer arrive at the same conclusion on this parable then the parable has not accomplished its stated objective. The parable concerns all things hidden being revealed. Are you open and receiving, willing to endure and grow into such revelation? With the measure with which you hear this you will be given more. The faith of our Lord is all about an experiential process that brings His light into the darkest corners of our existence. It requires an openess and devotion few are willing to submitt themselves to, the rewards however are promised to liberating.
May19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:5:1-20 GO HOME TELL - How many times has Jesus forbidden others to tell of their healing? Why is it different in this case? The situation with the citizens of Gadarenes may necessitate it. The testimony of this man may be more productive for the Kingdom than Jesus staying and stirring things up more. People often think that if they were to see a miracle that they would believe. I believe that in most cases it is not that they don't believe it is how they respond to their belief. Belief in this case has caused fear and fear has caused discomfort and discomfort has caused opposition. Belief when not tied to faith is threatening. Why did Jesus not insist on staying to work through this resistance? Efficiency! Demons retreat into the sea rather than be tormented and are swallowed up. Men retreat into businesses and idols rather than be threatened and are swallowed up. Jesus leaves them a reminder, a man that has nothing but his own personal testimony. The man is as much a testimony against them even from his home in Decapolis Syria. His testimony is honest and simple, what Jesus did for Him, how Jesus had had compassion on him. Many marveled. The faith of our Lord has every option available to it. It is not limited even to Him having to be there. The best option can change to meet the situation, but, He always is clear as to what the best option for that occasion is. No doubt there is much prayer and spiritual diligence involved in Him being prepared for these types of decisions. This report may very well be Gentile Syria's first exposure to the Gospel of Christ. Marvel may be accurate for they would not yet know that Jesus is Messiah for all mankind. In kjv@Mark:7:31 Jesus will be on the coast of this man's homeland.
May20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:5:21 NO MAN SHOULD KNOW IT - Jesus is an equal opportunity healer. The woman with the blood issue has for twelve years been considered defiled. According to the law she must not go into the Temple, she must watch and wash every where she sits, she cannot lay with her husband. Once healed she ends her time of separation with more time apart and sacrifice. The ruler of the synagogue is about as high up as one Jew can get at that time. From all public observances his hands would be as clean as ceremony and ritual and stature could get. Both have needs, both people Jesus addresses. The experience for the three together does not go without complication however. Faith is the evidence of things hoped for. It is evident that the women has strong hope as her determination presses her through the crowd that is already thronging Jesus. It is evident in the ruler as he goes against the grain of what all his peers would think regarding Jesus. It is evident in Jesus as He works His way to the ruler's house though cornered by the throng, through the tumult of the professional wailers, past the jeers of the household, despite the urgent rush minding to touching details as stopping to acknowledge the woman's faith and sharing the private moment with both the father and mother. Clearly hope comes with plenty of opposition, plenty of obstical, plenty of objection. Hope often calls to Jesus as a last resort. Many things may be suffered on the way to becoming able to place all hope upon Jesus. When Jesus says "no man should know it", it doesn't mean that no one is not going to know it. Everyone that followed Him up to the house would know, everyone that saw the woman made whole would know, everyone in the house that was ordered out would know, the few that were invited in would know. And anyone who saw the young twelve year old girl walking out to play like nothing had happened would know. Jesus is wanting these people now in the know to figure this what has happened out on their own. The faith of Jesus faces resistance everywhere He goes. It is never as simple as hoping that mankind will understand, there is every evidence that He is determined to make it so. This is evidence in face of opposition.
May21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:1-6 HE MARVELLED - What is that? Our Lord marvelled? I find it interesting even in modern contexts the depths of prejudice within ethnic or racial groups themselves. We expect to see it spill out one group onto another back and forth, but, more curiously the type that never leaves it's own doorstep; it is a wickedness all it's own. Wouldn't you think that a Nazarene would have that home boy (small pond) making it big (big pond) hero coming home pride for the celebrity fellow Nazarene? Apparently not. They can't seem to get past the fact that at one point this was their town carpenter. I speculated previously that Jesus' family had sought Him out being convinced that He was beside Himself, that they had attempted to interrupt Him to draw Him back in, that I felt that they were under much pressure back home and had over reacted. Could this be the pressure that they lived under? Pressure from their own neighbours? If the works of Jesus to this point were not enough to change any minds in Nazareth then no future works while He was there would either. It almost makes you ask why did He go back home anyway? Was it to give them a final chance? Was it to minister to His mother and siblings? Was it a brief retreat? Was it for our viewing and further understanding? Was it simply because the Father told Him to? My own faith often differs from the faith of our Lord. I expect that if I am in the place God needs me then I will see the positive results and when I don't... I probably turn over/walk away from more crops than I plant because of this. But, who says that being in the right spot at the right time produces the right results? At least right as we see it?
May22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:7-13 TWO BY TWO - It is further proof of the authenticity of Jesus that He can give portions of His anointing to others. The others would not have this power any other way but by Him giving it to them. It is not learned. It is not alchemy or potion. It is not positive thinking. That He would now trust these men is important; to trust these men in the hands of others is extreme. For those looking on it should be eye opening. The power of God is not just manifest in one but in twelve and later one hundred and later... Something is going on here that secularists should take note of, Jesus is pretty much doing whatsoever He wants despite massive resistance and the whole movement is gaining momentum exponentially. Therein lays a testimony against the scoffer; these things are being done and they are witness and yet they still disbelieve. Another side of this is that Jesus feels that there are enough believers to host these men wherever they go, they don't even need to pack a bag. Whether these are people whom He has healed or preached to we don't know; He does. For years I have thought of this as a acid test intended for the Disciples; this time I am thinking that it is more of a significant declaration of how far He has brought His sheepfold and how many others there are off camera. We are all tested and learn to depend solely on Jesus, but, at the same time it is reassuring to know our Lord has resources and people inline that we have barely considered. The faith of our Lord is manifold. He is operating on multiple planes and in multiple directions we can barely fathom. It is a most beautiful thing to behold. Wouldn't you love to hear these men recount these first time first flight stories?
May24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:30-44 GIVE YE THEM TO EAT - It is not just that Jesus took what the Disciples were able to come up with and make it to feed five thousand plus, it was when and why He did it. The Disciples had just returned from their first paired solo excursions and reported everything that had happened. Imagine the testimonies of these men! But, they were tired and needed rest. Yet five thousand other men (not counting women and children) had followed them out to the rest sight. Imagine the disappointment of these men. Did they get their rest? Little energy and barely enough food to feed themselves, what they did have Jesus was able to make more than enough for everybody. Yes. At the point where they thought they had the power to do anything settling quickly to the point of fatigue and human impossiblility, Jesus shows them who the Master still is. His strength is in divine compassion; compassion for these men, compassion for these shepherd-less crowds, compassion for fallen mankind. Divine compassion continually invigorates and supplies. The faith of our Lord is that these many men will experience this divine love from Him and come to accept the terms of it. It is not their love nor power, it is His, it is His Father's, it is the Spirit's. It is there to taste of, to sustain us, to replenish us, to be filled of, to rest assured of/in. We gather together and offer up what little we have collectively, He makes it miraculously all sufficient. Is there rest for the weary disciple and shepherd-less? Yes, in His compassion! GIVE YE THEM TO EAT.
May25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:6:45-56 IT IS I - Jesus is pushing the Disciples hard to understand something very important, something that they did not understand in the first pass with the loaves. There is a hardness/resistance there with them against this teaching that must be broken up. In order to do this He has them work frantically against the wind to save their own lives. The similarity to the message of the loaves is being intensified and personalized. It is a spiritual teaching remember where the Disciple is doing what he is told but, is long getting nowhere, barely maintaining the position to this point reached. How many times in the course of ministry are we found at the same point with our faith (even our lives at times) out on the line and the waves that could end it all are closing in all around us? Why was it Jesus was just going to walk on by? He wasn't, He was waiting for them to recognize Him. Up to now it had been their effort only, their fishes and loaves, but the situation before them was humanly impossible, improbable by nature and supernaturally unheard of. Had they simply asked Him to join on board and help the rowing effort it would still be their futile effort with an extra oarsman. Instead, had they called out to Jesus to rebuke the wind, do that which no man can do, their fulfillment of the task at hand would have gone much smoother. The few fish and the loaves amongst many, paddling against life threatening gail forces are all a part of obedience and serving this Lord. These are not meant to be lessons of learning defeat, they are meant to be moments of calling God to do the impossible; all in the course of obeying His will. The faith of our Lord is the faith of a master teacher. Certain lessons have to be learned, but, we find mere words often sell the lesson short. Teaching spiritual things often requires physical examples, physical experiences, even fearful adrenaline and sore amazement. If the Lord appears to you only as some ghostly spirit in these times you know that you are not recognizing Him for what He is and what Lord over all things He needs to be in your life. IT IS I.
May26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:7:1-23 HOWBEIT IN VAIN - Imagine spending the bulk of your lifetime judging others presumably on spiritual grounds by what means little to God. If the commandment of God boils down to loving God with all heart/soul/body/strength and neighbor as self, where then have the disciples broken this commandment by not ceremoniously dry washing hands to honour the elders? What would make one ever think that the two are the same unless it was a dirty heart that wanted to appear to others as if it was clean? Imagine being consumed by what went into others' bellies more than what came out of their hearts. Imagine having that be the factor that keeps you from coming to a clear and present knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Imagine that you have come all the way from Jerusalem to argue with/disprove Messiah over that. The funny thing is that even after having this explained disciples like Peter still had problems reversing this clean/unclean thought long ingrained in him later on in life. How deep are the traditions we hold? How do we still hold to them even though we understand differently? Why does such a principal teaching appear to us as a parable and not a plain principal? The faith of our Lord has to keep it's focus. He cannot allow these side issues to detour His teaching, He must vanquish them as soon as they are presented. Our focus must be spiritual and be on Him and His commandment. It can not morph into what we think is spiritual but really is not.
May28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:7:31-37 ASTONISHED BEYOND MEASURE - It is most astonishing that the deaf and impeded/mute can be healed. I guess that you'd actually have to be there to know absolutely that it was so. This case is probably of a person who spoke and heard at one time previous as they know how to speak once released. Jesus pulls the man aside though so that not many actually saw what He was going to do. Those that did see were told not to say anything about it. To me the proof these many years after is the fact that it could not be contained. Surely there are enough people that saw the before and after who even though they did not see it happening first hand had no other explanation left for it and thus were astonish and vocal about it. After all, how do you keep something like this silent, one minute he is verifiable deaf/mute judging by the reaction and the next healed and the only thing that happened in between is that Jesus pulled Him aside? So that without any words spoken anybody that knew the sequence of event was going to add it all up. Beyond measure is the other indicator to examine as there is very little that can compare to this; the blind seeing, a withered hand immediately made whole, raising of the dead. He must have charged them more than once because the more He did it the more they published it. So is this reverse psychology on His part? Or, is this something about human nature and His judgments that He is revealing to the discerning pupil? The faith of our Lord is aware of the ears and the eyes in the future that will believe or not believe based upon these written testimonies. Words are spread, interpretations corrupt, fables develop. It is important to the Gospel that Jesus makes mention of this even though the people there are going to do whatever they want with this. It is stated for the record, if not for their sake then for our sake. Anyone else speaking to another about this off record would be disobeying the Lord Almighty.
May30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:22-26 NEITHER GO INTO TOWN - This time the man is taken outside of town, restored, told to no return back in to the town till after Jesus leaves. How long before Jesus left we don't know. Two options as I see it. One: It is almost as if the bigger miracles are exciting the crowds in ways counter productive to the ministry. Crowds stir leaders and leaders stir counter measures. Whatever the balance is between teaching and miracle and evangelism, the reaction to the miracles is becoming a major concern. Two: unrelated to the reactions of others these commands may be tests of the response those directly involved. He heals, He commands, they fail Him. If the disciples fail Him, the healed/unshackled fail Him, what are the chances that we will fail Him? It is not to discourage us that this is made known, it is to direct us to His pursuing love. If both options are at play we find a Lord of great love and great concern shepherding us, steering us away from the faults deep within us at great risk to Himself and His ministry with great oversight and insight into all the matters at hand. The faith of our Lord is immeasurable. It is hard to be puffed up with leaven when you know that you have failed and will fail but He keeps working to set you apart for His glory.
May31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:8:27-30 THAT I AM - There is a voice predicted that will prepare His way in the desert kjv@Isaiah:40:3. This is not necessarily Elijah or it can be Elijah in two roles. kjv@Luke:1:17 describes John as having the spirit of. There is also Elijah coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord kjv@Malachi:4:5, speaking directly about the Day of Judgment kjv@Malachi:4:6 turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. kjv@Matthew:11:14 Jesus connects John to Elias if we will receive it. Since the great day (moon blood red, burning the wicked as stubble kjv@Joel:2:31) has yet to come we must conclude that Elias comes twice. If John is Elias Jesus then is not, He is the one whom will have His way prepared before Him and later the one whose Day will be great and terrible. If Elias comes twice so then does Son of Man. Jesus is aware that His disciples are struggling between what Jesus tells them and what they are hearing on the streets. In a sense Jesus is forcing them into deciding which Jesus they are going to choose to believe. This is the second time He has asked them. That there is so much talk in that day recorded is important today as the modern Jews attempt to state that Messiah is just anyone anointed with oil, as it shows that the Jews of that time expected something much more. They also have it so tightly wrapped up that prophecy can only be fulfilled in just one way and since it didn't happen their way what the Gospels/Jesus declare is just plain stupid or even blasphemous errors. The Spirit not flesh and blood will have to reveal this to a man's heart individually. While they seek to minimize the meaning of all this and contort prophecy to get there, the faith of our Lord has all of this in clear perspective. Prophecy also has one day their 'veil' being lifted.
June3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:14-32 FAITHLESS GENERATION - Who is faithless here? The disciples who despite their anointing to do this failed having not fasted nor prayed? The man whose faith was small and asked for more? The scribes that were using the opportunity to publicly belittle the ministry? The crowds that gather to watch the knock down drag out cage match? What if it was all of them but not just any one of them individually? There is an inclusiveness in the word generation that needs to be pondered. Disciples affect a mans faith, the two affect the fanatical scribes, the three affect the crowd's temperament. Likewise, the crowd's affect the scribes which affects the man's which affect the disciple's. Could they all be part of one larger organism? Is that what a faithless generation looks like? If so, how does one escape? The faith of our Lord is that if one can believe, all things are possible. It is not just any belief, it is not the belief in the healing itself, it is the belief in the power and authority of Christ. The person and presence of Christ instills that belief and confidence. Anointing alone cannot account for everything. Prayer and fasting are both ways to refocus on the person and presence of Christ. This instills faith and helps to quiet/counter all criticism.
June5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:38-41 FORBID HIM NOT - We may have to come back to this one. I have thought about this one a lot and still am not quite sure where it leads. We know that many who had casted out demons in His name will be turned away in the end, Jesus never knowing them kjv@Matthew:7:22-23. Here we see that none of those miracle workers can lightly speak evil of Him. We know that one can have the faith to remove mountains and have not charity is nothing kjv@1Corinthians:13:2 and that whether in pretence or truth Christ being preached should be rejoiced in kjv@Philippians:1:18 . Add as well that some can propose to heal or cast out in the name of Jesus only to have it turn against them kjv@Acts:19:13-16 . It seems to suggest that if John was trying to deflect his present embarrassment by showing his protective zeal for Christ, Christ was not going to let it divert the current teaching. The teaching and correction of service over rank was pointed at the disciples. This man though he was performing miracles in Christ's name did not necessarily have everything all together. The Holy Ghost was performing miracles through him but the man would still have to come to know Jesus in his heart of hearts. Maybe he did believe and was saved, Jesus alone would know this, but, that is an issue other than what Jesus was tending to right now. Disciples need to be aware of the lesson at hand and not move the discussion elsewhere. We need also to know that the Spirit is working on multiple fronts in declaring/confirming Jesus as Christ; not everyone else is an imposter. The faith of our Lord is aware of and allows for some things that we may not consider, that we might feel compelled to defend Him from. It may be that it is better to inquire into the deeper faith of these workers as to their salvation than to criticize their not being part of our pack.
June6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:9:42-50 LITTLE ONES THAT BELIEVE IN ME - Jesus, not to be distracted, continues with child in arm "And" or furthermore. We were talking service over perceived rank, we continue one step further with anyone with rank that scandalizes/entraps to trip or stumble/entices to sin or apostasy anyone lesser, in this case a vulnerable believer. The occasion would be for a priest, a teacher, a professor, a counselor, an officer or one impersonating one, a parent grandparent or immediate relative or family friend, anyone with the implied suggestion of authority over the youth/pupil/patient/client/parishioner up to and including king or president. The daily news is filled with cases where authority has been occasion for wicked sin and perversion. How much more goes un-reported? The classrooms are filled with persuasive coercion and acidic secular proselytization. The courts and prisons are filled with horrific domestic abuses. Worst of all the Church itself for some has come to symbolize molestation and pedophilia of the most egregious offense of authority. Where is the service to God? Jesus makes absolutely clear what His judgment will be of these people; He repeats it five times worms and hell fire. For those who argue for God's unconditional compassion it needs to be understood where compassion has to surely end in order to be compassion at all. If you think about all it's possible forms, the tentacles reach everywhere. It indeed would be better that before offending the offender would cut or pluck the body part off, but, they won't. That the disease has affected the Church which Jesus set out not to be authoritative in this sense shows how far these tentacles can reach. In face of this we that remain are to have salt ourselves and peace one with another. The faith of our Lord knows the necessity of certain levels of authority but, teaches without distraction against it's selfish propagations and abuses. It is clearly a fault and tendency of all human nature, however the Church must particularly be on the guard for such offenses and mark out each and every offender without tolerance nor delay.
June7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:1-12 BUT FROM THE BEGINNING - This is a planned attack by the Pharisees. Somewhere along the way they have counseled together, decided, put out talking point directives to all that would come in contact with Jesus. These may be hired guns as well, men that are directed to seek out and trip up Jesus. It is obvious by what they are going after and the number of times that they have posed the same type questions that they believe that this is their best play. How would this be a no way out for Jesus? Is there really such unanimity amongst the sects regarding divorce and the law that all would disagree with Jesus' analysis? No, there is such hardened inflamed public sentiment about anything restricting to their personal freedoms and desires. The Pharisee have a less restrictive view of divorce and they want to make use of that to turn public opinion against Jesus and toward themselves. The same trick may have been used against John the Baptist. He told them what the law really meant, called them vipers to their face, and got in fatal trouble with the Herods for it. Why not try the same? Essentially, the hardness of the Pharisees is being used to stir or play the hardness of the people against the correct interpretation of the Law boxing Jesus into a corner. This is a much bigger test/temptation for Jesus that we today perceive. Jesus instead goes back to the beginning intention, Man, Woman, in God one flesh; hard to argue against that. If it were not for the hardness of a couples heart one or both toward the things of God they would have remained such. Now they make living together a living hell and their hearts harden all the more. If allowance had not been made in these cases the hardened would lash out all the more and take society down with them. The Law then can be used in at least two opposing ways, one as a warning against hardness or two as an easy justification for divorce. Jesus does not call them a broad of vipers, but, does make it known that the hardness of couples to the designs of God and hardness of the religious towards the true intents of the Law were not going to box Him into a place that truth can't still get out. The faith of our Lord is in the spirit of the Law as the spirit addresses the hardness of mankind complete. Without the Law we would not know our sin, knowing our sin makes us to resist and to sin all the more. Only being one with God through Jesus Christ makes us one flesh man to women and one with the spirit and design of all things.
June8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:13-16 FORBID THEM NOT - It is an encouraging sign of reverence that parents would bring children up to Jesus to be touched. That the disciples were rebuked for holding them back shows me that the event was not staged. Part of their discipleship no doubt was to hold back crowds allowing Jesus more room to operate. There must of have been a reason that they thought it best to hold back the children either for their safety or for their interruption or their encouragement of others. The parents on the other hand must have felt a let down, perhaps understanding but, still dejected. It is one form of worship to come to Jesus as an adult. It is another to encourage your children to do what you perhaps would be too shy to do yourself, actually go up to be touched. It shows an understanding of Jesus on these parent's part. The children themselves may not understand what is going on and all the oddity and controversy surrounding it. They are much more inquisitive and experiential. No doubt they sense that this man is a man of importance, He garners an interesting crowd, but, He also seems unusually friendly and approachable. That someone would wish to hold me off from Him makes me want to meet Him all the more. Perhaps I have to step around people and make my way through the tight corridors of stationary bodies but, He beacons me. And as I am touched, and my sister, and friends there with me, He speaks as if this the way all the town folk should be, brave enough to meet Him, calm enough to enjoy His gentle hand, joyful enough to look back on my parents and acknowledge that they put me up to something I genuinely enjoy. I will remember this man as the friendly important stranger I met. The faith of our Lord is that men and women of all ages can adopt the heart of a child. It is possible. The crowds grinding at Him would be a whole lot different if they were filled with truth and joy seeking adventurers. They would be different to Him and different to each other. For one thing they would allow themselves to be touched, some deeply, to the point of being reverent.
June9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:17-31 WITH MEN IMPOSSIBLE - Perhaps it was the innocent presumption and brashness of youth that made Jesus to smile, a youth talking about since he was young, a law had not yet worn down such adolescent confidence. No man can uphold the law just as no man can completely surrender to Christ unless it is God who makes him. The belief is often that riches are the blessing of obedience to God, the lack of riches the curse of disobedience. If so what reason would the rich man have to change anything that he is doing. Yet there is an emptiness or discomfort in the lad concerning eternity, perhaps the closest thing to truth he has said. Jesus counters that the true blessing is not from following the law but following Him who fulfilled the law. The riches from that extend much further into both this life and the next. Even those who have in fact given up all they have struggle to keep separated the doing it in a sense of duty to the law with reward verses doing it as an reverent response to the work of Christ regardless. Throughout the chapter there has been the theme of becoming as children. The adult mind has made entrance to heaven a needle's eye, the child's mind has few self imposed limits. The work of Christ makes the believer to perceive himself as a child, to look at her godly life through the lens of a child, the work of God makes all things even Christ work upon them possible. It does not come without persecution however. The faith of our Lord is that given the impossibility of any man coming to this themselves that it will be His Father alone that will bring this eternal salvation and all that comes with it to light. Who then can be saved? He who God makes to be saved who then follows.
June10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:32-34 WHAT THINGS SHOULD HAPPEN - It says that they were amazed and afraid as they followed behind him. They knew something big was going on. They had been told at least two times previous and now they were marching forward towards the end. The determination of Jesus ahead leads to an odd sense of reverence the Greek suggests combined with uncertainty perhaps endangered concern within them. This is not as easy as just knowing what is about to happen, it is the struggle with why, it is the wrestling with where each of us fit into that. If Jesus is gone how does the movement continue? Who takes the lead? How do they stand against the forces building and soon triumphant over Jesus? What happens with the miracles? What happens with the crowds and adulation? Are they really ready to lead? Could this not be held off until they are better prepared? Jesus is depending on them, will they be up to the task. The lessons learned along the way of it being entirely God's power, faith the size to move mountains, eyes of a child, a pearl of great value, balanced against a faithless and perverse generation, sheep without shepherds, eye of a needle, darkness and tribulation like never seen; these things must be reconciled and brought to real and living faith. It is no wonder they are afraid and resistant. The faith of our Lord stands firm. This is the way. It must be thus. This is what He had come to do. The time is now. The rest is left in the Holy Spirit's hands.
June11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:35-45 TO SIT AT MY HAND - Who will sit at Jesus' side? Not even Jesus knows. You'd think maybe Moses, maybe David, maybe Adam or Noah or Abraham or Joseph. What about Elijah or .....? You see there are a lot of people that you would think would be there long before James and John. What if it is James or John? What if is a old widowed missionary by the name of Paxton from Little Rock 2027 who more than anybody fulfilled the "servant of all" clause Jesus is talking about? You'd say I never heard of Paxton, nor Carmen from 15th century Portugal on His left side. The fact that Jesus does not know means that more than likely we will not know. That's the thing about being a servant, they are usually someone behind the scenes, someone you may have thought was a lonely old stick in the mud or an orphaned gutter dweller run over by a cart at sixteen. It could well be an assistant to someone big that everyone would have thought would be there instead. What if it was Peter's assistant Mark for writing down the words we are reading today? What if it was the Demoniac Jesus restored back on the shores of Decapolis? The faith of our Lord is that these types of honorable decisions for His followers is already being prepared for. His task is to drive onward to the cross, win the prize and spoils for all of us to partake in. The task for us is to minister to and give of ourselves enough to be in the running for "servant of all".
June12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:10:46-52 MADE THEE WHOLE/SAVED - kjv@Matthew:20:29-34; kjv@Luke:18:35-43 also give the same account. Mark here says "whole", Luke says "saved", Matthew omits the response noting Jesus' compassion but, he says that there are two beggars. Is there contradiction? Only if you want there to be. Why would you want there to be? So that you don't have to believe it. Is it that you believe that sight can't be restored as in a communicable eye disease? Is it that two men can't be present and one remembered in particular by Peter because of his name and perhaps as reference to those who might know him further? Is that being made whole cannot mean being saved? Is it that you think the Holy Spirit would make such an obvious mistake? There are plenty of other seeming contradictions if you want there to be. I would rather see it that the fame of Jesus was known well enough to the many beggars along the road near Jericho that some called to Him causing a disruption to the caravan of pilgrims to passover Jerusalem. The more they called out the more people tried to quiet them until finally Jesus was close enough to call at least two to where He was. They gladdly came and made petition of Him. He had compassion on them and seeing their faith was assured Himself that they were made whole/saved through the encounter. As others later read the account those who knew Peter would recognize the one name and be able to certify that he indeed could see and did remain in the faith perhaps having done or become something significant/memorable. The faith of our Lord is in the testimony that both had preceded Him and would follow Him. Where things needed to be further explained He made sure to mention, even repeat. Where things did not need but the benefit of a doubt He left it alone as a testing point. There are certainly challenging areas in our faith as there needs to be to prove our sincerity and give us room to grow, but, not one is contradiction unless one wants it to be. I would ask are you certain that you want this particular challenge to be the point your two paths split?
June17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:1-12 GIVE THE VINEYARD UNTO OTHERS - The Sanhedrin knew that He had spoken of them, therefore, the first piece of the puzzle is in place; Sanhedrin = Husbandmen. We are then to gather that they knew He (Jesus) was the heir. Why did they seek to kill Him even after He said they did in fact cast the son out and kill Him? So that the vineyard would be theirs. But what about all the reports of the Prophets like kjv@Isaiah:53 , the tender plant growing before Him, the speechless lamb led to slaughter, cut off from the land of the living who ends up receiving the portion and dividing the spoils? This is all a cunningly devised fable to them. It is finally going to be their vineyard now, no more talk of an heir coming to repossess it. Only one thing yet remained between them and their stolen prize; the immediate reaction of the people still supporting Jesus and the rumors of conspiracy that would circulate for the years to come if not properly handled. What was needed was a way to spin present and future perceptions in one swoop; they chose to put Jesus through a national trial. Jesus knows this from the many prophecies, so He replants another old prophecy of the "chief cornerstone" into the public's mind to counter the spin that they are planning for the history books (He states it as if it is past tense). The vineyard long has referred to Israel by the scriptures Old and New. The husbandmen of that time were destroyed in 70 AD and the vineyard ever since have been given to assorted others; proof of this parable/prophecy being further fulfilled. Though the fruit of the vineyard can not be pressed at this time the supposition of self ownership and pretended husbandry is carried on through the traditions of the Jewish Orthodoxy. The "cornerstone" seed yet remains, the marvel to be completed upon His next coming. The faith of our Lord is that His counter measures will stick. We know of a great many Gentiles that hold true to the keeping and remembrance of the "Cornerstone" in Israel's temporary absence, and some Messianic Jews. Israel's eyes will soon be re-opened, perhaps even by the re-opening of this combination parable/prophecy/historical testimony.
June18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:13-17 RENDER TO GOD - The attempt must be to either tag Jesus with or separate Jesus from the radical political elements who see Caesar as a captor and oppressor over Israel, that see a Messiah as winning the nation back. A simple understated question at this point contains a field of land mines to navigate; people on both sides of the issues have their opinions at stake. Jesus may have somewhat conceded to their objective by entertaining their approach instead focusing on the bigger issue of what for them has not been rendered to God. He knows that they are withholding and trying to steal away what is rightfully Gods. They hold His temple, His city, His nation, His people captive and soon will hold Him prisoner as well. While their question is intended for the ears of all that are listening in, His answer is directed to these assassin's hearts. If they were to give God what is rightfully His they would first have to give reverence by repenting from their schemes and devices. How much more is that than the penny with Caesars inscription? The faith of our Lord is that while there may not be an answer to their question that will change the path to His cross, His cross can change the path of their question. His verbal reply while well principled may not be what they marvel at as much as His commitment to the road He is on.
June22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:12:41-44 HE CALLED UNTO HIM - It is interesting that Jesus is allowed to be near the treasury after all that has happened the last few days. It is interesting that the disciples have to be called to Him having left Him to His own. It is interesting that not long after telling of widows that have been ripped off by the Pharisees here a widow comes giving her last farthing. We take it to symbolize the depth of her giving, which it is, but, it could mean more than that. If this is one of those widows it is her last farthing because of the oppression of the religious. The faith of our Lord that behind every farthing there is a story. Giving is important, the heart from with which one gives extreme. The reasons behind the giving and the depth under His watchful eye.
June27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:32-42 SPIRIT WILLING FLESH WEAK - Would you consider falling asleep a sin? It could be if you were in trusted to post the watch. It would be if you had been commanded to (regardless of lives depending on it or not). The spirit may be ready but the flesh is weak. So how did Jesus want the three to counter act that weakness? To pray lest they enter into temptation. Temptation? What is the temptation? The pull of the flesh. What was the pull of the flesh in this case? To sleep and to take offense. The disciples had vowed to be by His side and no doubt they fully intended it. How did Jesus know that they would scatter away tonight offended? Because He would ask them to do something spiritual that they would only be able to do having received the strength to do it from the Father by prayer. The flesh pulled them away from receiving that strength. In contrast the Lord worked through the pull of His flesh by locking Himself onto a tractor beam of prayer. The sore amazement, the heaviness over the agonizing cup He was about to drink, the wrestling of His own will would perhaps have been too much had He not asked for and received the strength from the Father by His prayers. There are a great many things we've been asked to do that we fully intend to do but, the flesh has pulled us away. Maybe not in Ten Commandment kind of ways but, in deserting our post kind of ways, in dosing off kind of ways that leaves these things mostly undone. We can resolve by our own strength to do these things but, truly it is only by the strength received by prayer. Our spirit is ready for His strength to overcome the pull of flesh, but, we have not because we ask not. Jesus did ask. Jesus was able to complete His obedience. We have the feeling that He had asked us to do something He knew we couldn't do and when we fail somehow we get offended. I heard a wise man say today that "victory is not won it is received". The faith of our Lord is that when He asks us to do something near impossible (by our own resources) in the future that we will remember His similar "up against the impossible" example and pray for the strength required lest we enter into temptation, the pull of the flesh.
June29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:14:53-65 I AM - We see the weakness of the Law; the rule of which is bent by man's own judgment. The greatest truth of all is judged to be blasphemy. If the question was to be asked "how do I lawfully kill this man (forget that He is Christ momentarily), and the answer that they came up with is to invite others to bare false witness/force the defendant to perjure himself and to exclude more defense minded or sympathetic ears from the inquiry, one has to assume that upholding the Law had very little to do with their proceeding. The Law became something to hide their true intents behind. Thus it is it's weakness. There must be the political calculation that they have been able to turn the swell of public support towards their cause or that they've been too lax given the situation; they are comfortable in doing this now. Here then the weakness of public sentiment is shown as the majority respects the show of power over all else even miracle and scripture. The leaders are offended to the point of slapping Him and spitting and yet are obliged enough to Roman government not to carry out the Levitical sentence of death from Deuteronomy themselves. Thus the weakness of the Sanhedrin itself is manifest. This is all a tangled corrupted mess. Jesus takes it as it is and as it comes. The heart of man is really what is on trial here and the prosecution of it is from the Father. The faith of our Lord is that His sacrifice will bring a change to all this. Change for most will not be for quite some time, but, change for a few (like the man downstairs by the servant's fireside) will be the unquenchable starting point.
July4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:33-41 WHY HAST THOU - That Elias would be called upon to bring Jesus down from the cross shows a cockeyed fabrication of prophecy but, it shows that there were people their that still anticipated something more was about to happen. There is a portion within us that wants to say that once something dies it is dead, there is no bringing it back. Would not God the Father it follows stop short of allowing Jesus to fully die to perform some wondrous miracle upon this cross to confirm Jesus as HIS Son? Why did Jesus have to die all the way? In order for Jesus to be Lord over life He would have to conquer death, to conquer death He would have to become death, pass through it, exit triumphantly. It was sin that brought about death, He was made to be sin kjv@2Corinthians:5:21 though He knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God. His death is the proof of Him becoming our sin. His new resurrected life is proof of our becoming God's righteousness. For those that expected something else, though they were close to understanding (having a hope but not "the" hope), the darkness of that day just kept getting darker and darker until His final breath. He cries out "Why hast thou forsaken me"? Their last false hope is shattered. But, we know why He was forsaken. His death is sin's death, His life God's righteousness. The faith of our Lord goes all the way not just most of the way only to pull back. This is the cup that He had to drink, this is the baptism no one else yet could share, this is the "not my will but Thine". This then is why!
July5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:15:42-47 BOLDLY - The body of Jesus legally remains the property of Pilate at this point. I would think that there would be several interested parties at least as to the whereabouts of the corpse if not full possession of it. Joseph is taking a big chance here if he is a member of the Sanhedrin should Jesus rise the third day as it would mean that He rose or was stolen in Joseph's possession, Joseph would be in kahoots. If he is not Sanhedrin then Pilate's judgment would be called into question. We are not told what became of Joseph nor his partner in this burial Nicodemus. If not known to be believers then they are certainly outed now and with that there must have been a price to pay; how costly would be conjecture. It was a bold move indeed, a considerable honor, an obedience to the Holy Spirit who would be in charge. Perhaps someday we will get the chance to talk to these two men to find out just how bold of a move this really was. The faith of our Lord was that everything, body soul and spirit, happenings on the ground were in the Father and Spirit's capable hands. His faith puts the fates of His followers into the same hands as it always was and is and always will be. As it should be!
July6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Mark:16 THE LORD WORKING WITH THEM - Imagine the heart that has truly been changed by the sacrifice and resurrection, cleansed by the Blood and now led by the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ, the heart that He Himself could now work with. The goal of millenniums of preparation, establishment and work towards mankind is now working in and with man. The grace of God has done this great thing and it is now doing this on a massive one on one and collective level. The faith of our Lord has paid off big. Imagine Mary Magdalene having gone from demon possession to gratefully not having them (enough for most people) to then casting out demons and speaking in new tongues. God's grace has exceeded. Imagine Peter with all that He thought he was able to do for the Lord only to find out how little he actually could (as if he had let Him down) to being Spirit empowered and used mightily. God's grace has exceeded. Imagine all of these people touched just as deeply whom the Lord is now working, imagine them congregating and focusing on a unified working effort to reach the ends of the earth with such a great message; that the grace of God is exceeding. Imagine when we all are one day gathered up unto them and we together look upon all that the work of Christ has done (having had our preconceptions of how great a thing that must be) proclaiming that even by that measure of expectation the grace of God has exceeded. The saving and setting apart of one soul is a glorious thing. The saving and setting apart of billions? Is there such a word? The work done along the way with each of them for that setting apart and the spread to the far reaches; it is all too much and far too magnificent to ponder. With this we go forth and preach everywhere, the Lord working with us, confirming the word with signs following... HIS GRACE EXCEEDING AMEN!
July7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:1-4 IT SEEMED GOOD - Luke undertakes a considerable and detailed effort putting together two accounts a gospel and a book of acts for the audience of one man, Theophilus. Though the important man this is addressed to now may be forgotten, the effort remains as one of the best accounts of both the earthly life and ministry of Jesus and historical depictions and detailing of the early Church that followed. Luke suggests that he was aware of several others that had made similar efforts, most perhaps oral editions and some written, yet it seemed good to him for this man's sake to conduct this noble effort himself. Luke was a frequent traveling partner of the Apostle Paul and is considered an evangelist in his own right. This introduction helps us to understand how our Lord uses assorted types of individuals to perform His greater purposes. No one sets out to perform a work the size of Luke's, not even Luke. He starts out in this case by trying to help one man to know of the certainty of these things. The Holy Ghost is performing His work through the man but the man is engaged by a smaller more tangible personal desire or matter. How often do we wait to act until directed by a divine dictate (which can happen don't get me wrong) when the Lord all along is willing to work through the more tangible personal desires as well? Where do we think such desires to help others come from? If it was more of our attitude that every person we meet and associate with would be helped by knowing the certainty of these things and we therefore conducted ourselves to gathering together accounts and resources as Luke did with the intention to making known the certainties simply because it seemed good, the Spirit would likely work through us all the more as well. Believers often think of the Spirit's guidance as to "which job" or "which city" or "how can I afford this" instead of thinking "how can the faith of this other person be ministered to and built up gaining full certainty?". Isn't the Spirit more likely to work us through this before moving us to different job or city? The faith of our Lord is that (inspired by His gift grace) people are going to want to help others come to and be strengthened in the faith as well, such desire is both natural and spiritual, and He is wanting/willing to work through that type of desire also. Salvation being a gift cannot be earned by any other effort, but, sharing the certainty of our Lord's faith for the benefit of other's faith serves our savior pleasures well. It seems good because it is good; the process benefits our growth and confidence too!
July9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:26-38 NOTHING IMPOSSIBLE - We have a pattern shown to us already in this book of our (man's) common reaction to things when revealed by God; we limit things to our own field of understanding. Time after time old testament and new a man/women is dropped in on by a messenger and uniformly we behave like a doubt filled and defensive timid bird. Who will this be? How shall I know? I am but a stuttering man? My lips are unclean? These are common reactions. By just reading spirituality from a book I doubt that we realize how large and grand and unfathomable these spiritual things are. But when confronted face to face, when it is our own life and our own safety and our own well being we attempt to hide ourselves as it were in the wide open, reduce things down to the improbable or impossible. Gabriel and his crew have a difficult job dealing with the sons of men. We are always spooked. We are truly disbelieving and suspicious types. We have to be talked to in short picture like packets with constant reassurance and explanation. We are both short and blind sighted, highly imaginative and think we know much more about the larger scope than we actually know. It is natural however given our unfamiliarity with the spiritual. Mary responds better than most coming to a trust without much further struggle. God is still dealing one on one with the individual players which should be expected. The faith of our Lord knows what He is dealing with with humans. We are made in the image of God so that there is much that is recognizable, but in his present state there is something exceedingly damaged even in the best of us or introverted spiritually. By the God becoming the flesh of man He will be more recognizable and less threatening to man (perhaps too much so). It is however the way He chose so it must be the way that is best.
July12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:1:57-66 FEAR CAME - It began with neighbors and cousins, it spread to all those that heard from them. It happened just as the mysteriously muted Temple priest wrote. Now you may not take notice when priest claims to have been visited by an angel. You are more likely to notice when he comes out unable to speak. You may not notice when a women passed her years has a child. You are more likely to notice when she is married to the muted priest and he claims that the angel foretold it to happen. Maybe you are not convinced until the couple name the child a non traditional name meaning "the grace and mercy of God" and suddenly the priest can again talk. So you are at least curious are you not? What else does the priest have to say? That the child comes in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the immediate way of the Lord? What manner of child will this be? Perhaps you are still not convinced but, you are likely to keep an eye on all this. Your reaction and the reaction of the others around you make you to fear. God does not just speak in words, He also speaks in motions and momentums. He produces curiosities and curiosities produce responses and responses produce environments and environments make for fear. Fear is the beginning of knowledge. Thirty years from now when the ministry of this John comes to a head and this John declares the son of the Mary (remember who spent three months with his mom Elizabeth early on) to be the "Promised One" enough people by then have been moved far enough along over the course that God can produce a larger fear nation wide. John then prepares the way of the Lord by what he says yes, but, also by what he has become and represents. The faith of our Lord is in supreme clarity objectively but, He often uses the noise of many others spreading abroad along with the focus of a few to bring that clarity about.
July14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:1-7 LINEAGE OF DAVID - Luke continues to work for the confidence of Theophilus with some historical markers that would either be well known in his time or easily verifiable by his excellency. We today as well would know by other sources of the second of these periodic fourteen year census/taxations happened in 20 AD putting the first on or near AD 6. We also have the reference to one Cyrenius governor also known as Quirinius. The Father would use the secular world as a time clock and a particular city as a locator, Bethlehem. Bethlehem we know prophetically kjv@Micah:5:2 as the birth place of Messiah and also by association as an indicator of probable lineage of David. That they went to their own city and there was nowhere to stay either shows that no family remained settled at that time in the city or that the family had no where left for them to stay or that the family hers/his was not willing yet because of their curious circumstance to receive them in. All of this doing puts Mary and Joseph in an awkward situation regardless but, it puts us in a place where matters can be confirmed and verified by others. Wouldn't you like to know if Theophilus ever used his influence/resources to look into the AD 6 census logs for Bethlehem to see if their names were listed? The faith of our Lord often puts believers similarly in awkward situations for reasons likely unknown to us. He seems able not only to make these times work out for us but, make these times valuable to others as well.
July16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:21-40 REVEALOR - Hopefully you've noticed how much the Holy Spirit has been involved so far. The child has yet to say a word and already we know so much about Him. Notice also how the Spirit is working, through individuals, to individuals. Simeon is used to reveal further information to Mary and Joseph; how many others hear this conversation we do not know. Anna thanked God before them as a separate confirmation, she speaks of Him to all them that looked for redemption however that was surely over the course of time as few (if any) of these saints would have been present at the temple on this day. Already we have a good many in Galilee, the surrounds of Bethlehem and a very influential prophetess at the temple in Jerusalem are all aware of a strong and curious spiritual possibility. Though others may not yet be aware they have been prepared just the same. Jesus is foretold to come to reveal the hearts of men, the Spirit is shown to be the revealor of Jesus, having prepared the mission "before the face of all people". kjv@John:16:8-11 further explains the Spirit's role post accession of reproving the world of sin, sin in direct relation to our belief and treatment of Christ Jesus as revealed. To Mary the Spirit impresses that all will not go as expected, this will mean the fall and rising of many in Israel and will be for a sign spoken against, personally painful like a sword into her heart. Jesus will be? No, our reaction to Jesus will be. Mary/Joseph pay the poor man's version of the Levitical first born's redemption this day, but, will pay a much greater price through the months and years to come. The faith of Lord is in a very hard and very difficult road ahead, impossible for anyone other than the true Messiah (as need be). It will be hard for Him, hard for His parents, hard for His disciples and followers, hard for us. It will not come by the goodness of men's hearts, nor their tolerance, nor their sense of righteousness or judgment. It will come by God's grace and performance of mercy. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit...
July17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:2:41-52 INCREASED - In just a few verses we have a wide picture of the Jesus at a very symbolic age for any Jewish boy/man. One, we see that many of His hometown were faithful enough to caravan south some 100 miles yearly from Nazareth to Jerusalem. Enough people traveled that it took nearly a day to sift the crowd to discover Him missing. Two, He was mature/trusted enough for His parents to go off on His own even in the big city, even on the road. Likely none of His siblings were not yet old enough to be in His responsibility. Three, not only are the scholars amazed by His questions but, also His answers. That He listens and ponders and probes others even while being under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit means perhaps studying more to how these men think and reason. Four, His first recorded words were in response to a rebuke from His mom for being so focused/enthralled with the intellectual curiosities as to have neglected timely obligations to the family; like many a boy. Unlike most young men of that age however, His interests were extremely spiritual; not an excuse so much as a predictable necessity if honestly judged by previous parental observation. Five, He was/remained subject to them though His mom would remember/consider this response long after; perhaps they both learned something about each other that day. Not only did He increase in wisdom and maturity, the righteous favor of God and man became central to Him as well. We do not hear about Him again for several years only that He replaced His dad Joseph at death as the town carpenter showing a patience and a waiting upon the Father's timing. The faith of our Lord is extreme in both it's eager ambition and it's temperate patience. A balance was found that gained Him stature and presence, discernment and favor. We must find similar extremes of faith and balance.
July19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:3:21-38 IT CAME TO PASS - A very significant day for Jesus symbolizing the passing of the torch from John to Jesus. John's ministry will now diminish and Jesus' strengthen. It is much like the passing of leadership from generation to generation. Jesus respectfully submits to John's baptism that John might see that this is no ordinary baptism, this is a royal inauguration crowned with the blessing of both Father and Holy Spirit. All the signs now point to Jesus, the lineage of both mother and human dad, the prophecies old and new, the opening of the skies with voices and appearances. That is not to say that everyone will now believe it. Just as Isaiah had written "Who has believed our report" most Jews to this day disregard the lineage of Joseph the child was not of his physical seed. The arm of the Lord can be revealed having performed every detail of the report and the majority still not believe it, being not in the form that they intellectually expect/agree to accept. Had it not been this self imposed technicality it would have been another. As best as I can recall Jesus does not ever entertain this trivial objection as penetrating and lasting as it has been. The faith of our Lord is in the submission to the Father's performance of mercy not in the intellectual suppositions of the fallen race. As it is said "My thoughts are not your thoughts" and "My ways are not your ways", what difference does it make if this is the way the Father did perform it and it still can be shown to superbly fit with the prophecies? I respectfully ask you then, how else did He perform it?
July24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:1-11 NEVER THE LESS AT THY WORD - I've been confused here in Luke where the disciples came in. Matthew has Jesus meeting Simon and Andrew, they leave all to follow, then John and James in similar fashion, no mention of the Mother-in-Law. Mark has Simon and Andrew first, John and James a little further, then Simon's Mother-in-Law. Luke has Simon's Mother-in-Law then all four fishermen as partners. John has two of the Baptist's disciples one of which is Andrew follow, he brings Simon to Jesus, Jesus then finds Philip who finds Nathaniel, these men go to the wedding in Cana, no mention of the Mother-in-Law. How do we pull these all together in proper respect? I will give it a try. The Mother-in-Law seems to be the pivot point. The first miracle being at the wedding puts John's account ahead of the Mother-in-Law's time as in Mark. John's is more detailed, Marks typical style is compressed. This means that they know each other and have toured a short time before returning to Peter's home to heal her then pick up again leaving all to follow full time. Matthew and Luke pick up at the healing and attempt to talk Jesus into staying, after a brief rest Jesus returns to the shore where the boy's have partnered up to regroup telling them about becoming fishers of men, given what has happened they realize their sinful nature, leave all behind now for a full time road ministry. To me this better describes a process Jesus utilized to gently bend the men by introducing them to the road and ministry, taste the good and bad of the experience, see the truly miraculous, before asking them dive full in. It also explains the importance of this moment in Galilee and why two of the Gospel writer decide to start at this. The faith of the Lord includes faith in these particular men. These men are given to Him by the Father, it is His responsibility not to loose any of them except for the son of perdition. These men are full in now thanks to His gentle patient yet determined manner as well as His obvious miraculous powers.
July27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:5:27-32 FOLLOW ME - Only people that know that they are sinners would know that they have need to repent, turn, follow. Those that don't consider themselves as such have absolutely no use for what Jesus would have to offer. I am not sure in today's terms that we understand how despised and hated tax collectors of that day were. This is yet another "in your face" move by Jesus. This reception would be difficult for even the loyal yet timid disciples, it would be revolting to the common citizen, it would be outright excruciating for a Pharisee or their scribe. But because of the undeniable command of matters Jesus is having this act must be fully considered (and for some countered). Matthew (Levi) is a truly inspiring story. Matthew not only leaves his lucrative position behind, he throws a huge reception and invites numerous friends over to meet Jesus. He puts on a huge feast. How many of us would be willing to do that for our Lord? Maybe for some this would be name dropping. Maybe for others this would be pomp ahead of his own career sacrifice. Jesus surely does not see it this way however else He would not be there. There is something important to notice here (many things); the importance of the balance of healing and teaching and public associations and staying on the offensive. The Pharisees have now made their decision about Jesus, but because they cannot explain away the mass healings for instance they cannot completely put down the teachings nor the associations. Because they must turn public perception they must somehow turn public associations that they themselves do not have. They are having to take hit and run sniper shots to remind the crowds of their disapproving presence. Really, how would you go about telling a blind man that can now see that he was healed by a devil or a leper that Jesus didn't actually have the power to forgive? That this was all a trick? Trick or not, they stand healed and sensing that they are forgiven. Likewise, how do you tell a reception of people that you have physical disdain for yourself anyway that they cannot congregate in this manner around this man? That He should not congregate with them? This is bold in deed. And it all is possible because of the balance of the many separate things that Jesus is doing right working together as a whole to multiply the effect of His ministry. Maddening it would be to to be on the other side of this tremendous unstoppable momentum. The faith of our Lord has no problem being with the people who need Him and desire to be with Him most. He doesn't mind even the occasional party to meet and greet a new disciples friends. There is a sincerity and a purity in this even when others might think that He is getting Himself dirty.
July31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:17-26 REJOICE IN THAT DAY - Are you rich? Are you full? Do you laugh? Are these themselves bad things? Salvation is based upon holding Jesus Christ as one's Lord and Savior. His death upon the cross is our death to sin, His Resurrection the beginning of our new spiritual life, His ascension confirmation of His heavenly reign. To not hunger for His truth, to laugh alongside His many scoffers, to be rich with all the treasures of this earth yet minus His grace is a woe most threatening indeed. To be poor in spirit however, to hunger for His truth, to be weeping where there is chiding, to be reproached even cast out for His sake, in this there is a kingdom sized blessing. Who are these rich according to Jesus? Their fathers doing is the key. Who so treated the prophets of old? The so called religious leaders of Israel. Do I have to fear if I am a rich kid from America? If I let it effect me like it did the Scribes. Do I have any to fear if I am a poor kid from the streets of Calcutta? If I let it effect me like it did the Scribes. Jesus speaks this as He is healing the multitudes one by one. He is looking up to His newly confirmed main disciples. What a sight it must have been for them to see; what a lesson. The prophets were right as evidenced here this day. These men too will be right, prophets in their own respect. Look though at how the right are treated. What does this tell us about man? What does this tell us about man's religion? It is rich, it is full, it is spoken well of, but they have already received their consolation. The faith of our Lord is in the broken and hungry and mournful heart. This heart is the starting point for something big, something that fits into an even larger eternal kingdom the type of which has not yet entered our minds; well worth the fiery trails of this present earth to be part of.
August2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:6:37-42 SHALL MEN GIVE UNTO YOUR BOSOM - Top and bottom: judgment, condemnation, forgiveness and a beam in one's eye. The difficulty with judging others is that we do not judge ourselves by the same measure. I am going to flip this around however to level that few are comfortable with. Let's take the example of Christians that are for the death penalty. There are many that would use these words against us; "judge not lest thou be judged". Are they not using the very words of non-judgment to judge us by? No doubt they have other words to say about Christians as well, and they are quite public about it too. Hiding behind such peaceable words in order to openly judge another is most "beamish". The measure that most all of us will be rewarded with largely has to do with the amount that we give. If a man or woman is known otherwise to be very giving of forgiveness and compassion and peaceableness, exceedingly so shall we say, the fact that they favor the death penalty in this one particular instance does not mean that there is a "mote" in their eye. Thereto, the man or woman known to be judgmental and unforgiving and slanderous in many more respects except in this particular instance and turns these peaceable words intentionally into canon fodder, here is a case for the consideration of hypocrisy. The law of Moses is filled with not only judgments about those who sin against God and society, it is judgmental against the society that does not execute judgment upon those individuals on behalf of the victims. The very ground it is said often cries out with the blood of the innocent. Prophets bemoan the times when there is no judgment, no one to stand the gap, no one to stand up against the evil. Rightly so. Has Jesus not come to fulfill the law of Moses and the prophets? A disciple is not above his master. He cannot judge and condemn and be unforgiving by his own selfish and hypocritical standard. His one allowance is as a society when the word of God so demands. Those that use the word of God, to which they have not the slightest belief otherwise, to box out those who do believe every word from the very public and very necessary debate over the death penalty are hypocrites of the highest order. This is not to say that there isn't a mote or splinter lacing our debate as well. The faith of our Lord is in the measure that we mete withall. Everyone that is perfect shall be as his master. Jesus has always been able to discern both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. The measure that He gave has been and forever will be pressed down, shaken, running over from the sincerest of men. What better reward or compliment. Just as He wants experienced in the bosom of His disciples.
August6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:11-17 THIS RUMOR OF HIM - Theophilus, if you are still reading this, here is a point that I have researched and feel comfortable that you yourself could confirm throughout the region as this miracle is still widely spoken of. There were many people there that saw it, the story spread, there was a great fear between those that saw/heard of it, that there was and is a saying among them that "God hath visited His people". Today we read through the passage and can't wait to get on to the next. It reads like a book, the stories rush by like here in ten quick sentences. What if this story was made into a book? The names and the faces came forward? Their lives before and after touched? Imagine that you knew this widow, her son, her deceased husband. Imagine that you knew her struggle and her mourning twice over. Imagine that you saw the "great prophet" when His lungs swelled up with such compassion and you then anticipated by the sudden silence from everyone in the crowd that something absolutely astonishing was about to happen. Will it happen? How can it happen? Am I really here to see this happen? Imagine Luke some twenty five years latter researching account after account of someone that was there (or someone that their parents made a point later to tell) taking notice of their eyes and lips as they spoke of the young man sitting man straight up. Do you still see it as a ten sentence passage? While there was so much going on in these three and a half years and surely moments like these must have just flown by with too many details to pen, we should never speed read through a single moment thus testified of. It is the faith of our Lord that we will give more time and more consideration to the accounts outlined in these gospels. We too can sense the profound drama, even relive them in our imaginations, have them soak through into our lives today. Linger rather my friend, thereby better join in the fear and awe and the long lasting gasping echos that remain.
August7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:7:18-35 ALL HEARD/PUBLICANS JUSTIFIED GOD - John's message was simple and clear, essentially that God is righteous and man is fallen, that man must turn back. Our righteousness as believers is that God is righteous in sending HIS Son Jesus Christ to become righteousness for us, God is justified. If you are a Pharisee it seems that you are righteous simply on the basis of being a Pharisee, do enough to remain a Pharisee and you will remain righteous, Self and Pharisee are justified. There is a world of difference between the two. To be a Pharisee one has to meet a standard, one is the standard. To be a believer one needs to accept that no man can meet that standard except one, Jesus, faith in Him and transference by imputation/association by adoption is the standard. For the one there is no sin personally to repent of as he is already righteous/justified, for the other everything he does is sin unless done upon or through him by Jesus, everything else requires repentance (turning back to Him). In preparing the Lord's way, John began this process amongst the commoners and they were very receptive. He lead them to the understanding of a need for Christ. Those baptized by the baptism of John were not saved by such they were simply prepared to receive Christ. Once Christ can become our righteousness by the sacrifice of His own blood. Having then purchased our salvation these same repentant responders can believe on Him and in that justify God for graciously performing all necessary requirements. The Pharisee on the other hand believes himself justified simply by what he is regardless. He can contradict himself, he can make every demand of other people, he can attach himself to the Law of Moses without having to fulfill it, whatever as long as He is a Pharisee. Many today follow along the same line including Catholics that believe that they are saved for having been baptized as infants by their parents into the church. There is no need for full repentance only a cleansing of conscience by mere confession and penance. The faith of our Lord is that wisdom is justified of all her children. God's wisdom is in His own Grace knowing that man willed not nor could not of his own. God's wisdom is in performing all the requirements of truth and justice and equity by His own mercy and compassion as presented in His Son. Shall we not in turn justify God by receiving His Son as the propitiation for our every sin?
August10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:16-18 WHEN HE LIGHTETH - When who lights? Did you light? With what did you light? The answer is that we did not light. Light typically symbolizes the knowledge of God, the candle-stand prophetically the church (or a church). When Jesus lit the light He placed it on a stand so that they that entered in might see the light. He had no intention of hiding it from them, but they did have to enter in. In the OT such a candle and candle-stand was the only light inside the tabernacle in the Holy Place. God's light was the only light that could light the darkness of mankind. Jesus says "I am the Light". John says "the Light came into the world". Jesus addresses seven candle stands, churches of the revelation, holders of His light, He Himself walking in the midst of these candlesticks. In the light of the knowledge of God nothing will remain secret, every dark hidden thing will be found out. God already knows these things, the revelation will be to those that have entered in. First and foremost are the things hidden within our own darkness. To those that have been revealed in His light more revelation will be given. To those that have not been revealed or yet turn away even what has been revealed will be taken away. We must then be careful how we hear. Some believe that the light is their own faith, nothing to do with their darkness being revealed and dealt with, that this is a call to believe all the stronger and let their own faith shine forth. The faith of our Lord is in those that will actually enter into His light, that willingly and consistently become more and more discovered/transformed in the knowledge of His light. It is in the collection of these discovered individuals as a body dedicated to holding true to His light, that stand to raise His light. We are revealed individually, we are revealed holding together as a group.
August11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:19-21 HEAR AND DO - Like His own family it is possible for some to not believe at all. It is possible that some want to believe, but their expectation of Him differs from who He actually is and what He must do. It is possible the some believe, but have yet to do. What is it to do? kjv@1John:3:23 simplifies it "believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another". How do we love? Jesus just gave a parable saying to receive the seed into good ground, keep out that which might wither or choke the word off; He just spoke of a light to those that entered in, were revealed and transformed, raised up His light as a body. It would be nice to think that one just set themselves to loving. Man is incapable of this kind of love however apart from it being a fruit of the Spirit. Doing good as any unregenerate man would do, doing a compassion is one thing; one would not be required even to "hear the word of God" as it would come naturally. This is not the type of doing Jesus is talking about. kjv@John:13:15-17 We should follow our Lord's example. It maybe early on in the developing faiths of His own family; this is not said to discourage them. This puts all men and women on equal footing "he who hears to do it". There is just as much opportunity for any of us should we take it. The faith of our Lord is that many will take Him up on this, not just love with our corrupted forms of love, but have that love revealed and transformed in His light and Spirit, have His love and our love for Him motivate us into doing as He has done. We have the proof that at least two of His half brothers James (the less) and Judas (Jude) took Him up on this at some point, likely several others if not all.
August12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:22-25 JEOPARDY - News Flash. "Boat with Messiah capsizes, no survivors, details at ten". I know it would be highly unlikely to think of it in the midst of a hellacious sea storm, but here on the sidelines it appears to be fairly normal course for these adventurers; if you're gonna "fly" with the master you're gonna have to expect a severe test or three. So where was their faith? Was it in "let the master sleep, we can handle this all by ourselves"? Was it "He always says to believe in ourselves"? Did He? Was it in "He will wake up at some point all we have to do is keep bailing until then"? Was it "oh no... somebody on board has crossed God and we need to throw the scoundrel overboard" like the sign of Jonah that He'd promised? Surely it wasn't that they needed to have the faith to take on the winds themselves? Only one has the power to grip the wind and seas into His fist, to rebuke them and set their limits. Only one has the power to walk on water, to bid another to walk out to Him. This isn't about self will or self determination or extreme confidence. This is about our faith in His redemptive will and sovereign ability over all things. The faith of our Lord is that in order for us to get from here to there (to where He commanded us to take Him) we need see that it is all in His mighty power, authority and resource. He believes that these men will at some point see this. We may not know exactly why the storm or why a tragedy or why it is we stand face to face with our own mortal jeopardy while serving Him but, we do know that He is God our Lord, not one thing escapes His precise dominion. These men's faith would later show up in their later days, what the Lord was able to accomplish through them fearlessly to us ward, what they were willing to endure and suffer. It is faith born with trust and acknowledgement and selfless abandon. Where then is jeopardy when there is this kind of faith in Him? kjv@Proverbs:30:4 kjv@Mark:4:40-41
August13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:26-39 HE SUFFERED THEM - Why would Jesus suffer tormenting devils? Because they themselves did not wish to be tormented? I doubt it. What purpose would they have in His grand scheme of things? Let's look at the results. Most importantly a man is released from his torment and that man now want's to follow Him; a big win. That said, the townsfolk are very afraid of Jesus, perhaps intimidated by a god other than their own especially when that god stands before them in the flesh, or else they are superstitious as to what the demonic world may do in retaliation. Either way they are exposed; another big win. The demons, while they are not in the abyss, they are in dead carcasses in the bottom of the sea; winning with a touch of humor. We today have the advantage of viewing all of this without having to actually be there; big big multi-generational win. We see how we would likely react to true spiritual warfare on our shorelines. We see how tormentors don't wish to be tormented themselves. We see how Jesus Himself can handle a situation without being a tormentor Himself. Though there will come a day for these demons and their types, that day will be in divine judgment long after Jesus wins the crown. The faith of our Lord is in the full plan. Even difficult situations are handled with ease when born from a clear and obedient spiritual perspective. He suffered them for this time and still hit it out of the ballpark.
August14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:8:40-56 GO IN PEACE - There seems always to be an uncomfortable reaction of people to Jesus. When the crowd was asked who had touched Him, you can imagine the fright the poor women had (and others) as if she had stolen away a healing from the Lord. Clearly the Lord did not mean it as such, but the women felt as if she "not hid". The disciples have an odd discomforted reaction as if frustrated that they'd have to keep track of who had and who had not touched Him on top of everything else. The synagogue ruler had to be uncomfortable that his options had all dwindled down to Jesus, that it would be known by the rest of the congregation that he had approached this revolutionary. The mourners in the room have the uncomfortable involuntary eruption of distaste and scorn. Jesus has to remove them from the room. I would imagine most all of us would be uncomfortable placed in our Lord's presence no matter what He did or did not do. Almost like a stage fright, a fear of being found out, our fight or flight defense mechanism is more than likely to be reject and despise or else shun and run. Understanding these tendencies, Jesus must navigate these potentially explosive minefields everyday. Frightened and wounded birds we each are. His response to the woman "be of comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole, go in peace", His taking hold of the girl's hand saying "maid arise", His words to the parents "give her meat", these are all very sensitive/sincere calming gestures and yet are commanding enough to firmly steer the situation aright. The faith of our Lord is rigid in heavenly obedience yet empathetic on multiple human levels. Not everyone's reaction is going to be met, however, it should be clear that the principal players are going to be thoroughly touched.
August18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:28-36 THE FASHION OF HIS COUNTENANCE - There are two was we could logically approach this transfiguration 1). that He was suddenly raised to this glory so that we notice it 2). that He was always in this glory but it was being hidden (except for this one pre-pentecostal time) so that we did not notice it. The triune member of the eternal Godhead humbled Himself greatly in many (all) ways to become incarnate; humbling did not alter the fact that He was triune member of the eternal Godhead. If men were to judge and accept His work upon the cross for their salvation it was important that they be able to judge based upon the action as much as upon the person, therefore the appearance of the person had to stand aside. God not being a respecter of any man past present future had to give all men the ability to judge based upon what they heard not upon what they saw as not every man (3 only) would have opportunity to see Jesus this glorified way. These three men were strictly being used as the vehicle of transmitting the message to us from which to judge and they had to come to a similar if not tougher decision themselves not to tell till afterwards. This passage also visualizes the soon passing of the torch (over mankind) from the Law of Moses and the Law of the Prophets to Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom of His Grace. The faith of our Lord is not that He will become all this, it is that He is/remains all this even though for righteousness sake much of this kept temporarily out of focus. He has set out to achieve that which was planned before creation. Nothing of that has been changed or altered. He will not be hidden on His next return, He will be seen shining from out of the heavens.
August19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:37-45 LET THESE SAYINGS - Everyone wondered at all these things. Wondered most likely about possession, where it starts, what it is like, how such a terrible thing could happen? Wondered why the disciples had not been able to heal this particular one having been able to heal so many others, having been given "all power" to cast such demons out. Wondered at what was meant by faithless and perverse generation, is that why this child was possessed, why the disciples were unable, is this the dad at fault, why devils have their way with men? Faithless and perverse how? Who? To what extent? Wondered as to who this man was and from where did He get such powers? Wonder one would think is good. It makes one to re-think, to re-examine. You would think that it brings sincere people to understand. It does not. To bring others to accept the Lord's power and authority. It doesn't. It is more likely to scare people away. The tremendous mercy placed upon this child at the same time raises the resistance of others, creates fear and discomfort. Some act as if it had not happened, some as if they were tricked, some as if they were being forced to believe. Even amongst His own the sayings to follow that should easily sink down into their ears are stolen away. It is a faithless and perverse generation all the way around. Divine mercies bring these varied forms of darkness to light and corner them. Wonder does not always mean enlightenment at first it may mean exposure to the challenging and perplexing. The mind is very good at justifying itself. Not long after wonder comes self protection and entrenchment for many. The faith of our Lord is to work through these things. A moment of His glory revealed followed by evidence of a faithless perverse generation followed by the people He trusts to observe and participate in this great work not understanding, it is all part of the same day for Him. It takes patience, continued obedience, continued faith. It requires His being delivered into the hands of men. They feared to ask Him of that saying.
August20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:46-50 FORBID HIM NOT - The name of Jesus alone is enough to cast out devils in the hands of one whom has the firm faith. Where this man heard of Jesus we do not know. He may have even been healed somewhere down the road; it is just not said. The disciples are not only seeing things as "who is great and greater", they are seeing things as "us and everyone along with us". It may have been a good point to interject some "why does he not follow us yet does all this". Surely it is important for Jesus to establish these twelve men as His primary disciples, especially in view of the written testimonies some will write that will be canonized. He must establish order and unity. At the same time it must be encouraging to Him that some are beginning to figure at least part of His kingdom message and authority. The disciples had been given authority and did well except for the once. This man is concluding that the name of Jesus is enough authority combined with faith to do the job as well. Think of how much authority the disciples would have if they just latched on to both facts. The faith of our Lord is in these twelve (eleven) men to establish them in the true faith. At times it may involve the illustrations of others' faith to draw them out and challenge them.
August21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:9:51-62 WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT YE ARE OF - Have you ever stopped to wonder what manner of spirit you are of? John has two instances back to back where he has felt that he was in the right, forbidding a non-follower from casting out devils and calling for fire upon the Samaritan village dissing Jesus. Within the group he may have voiced the majority opinion. Was there anyone other than Jesus that was going to challenge John's perspective? He was after all looking after his master? It is likely that there are few if any in our own circles today that would discern enough to challenge our perspective as well. How would we know what manner of spirit we are of? As right as John is, as protective of his master as he is, as in the majority this "son of thunder is", as loved as this "beloved" is, it is not from the Holy Spirit that his spirit is operating from. Peter has likewise been called out on this as well. Without clear discernment the borders between spirits the human mind is likely to justify/rationalize it's way to wherever it intended originally. Without discernment from those holding us in their confidence how else can the question of manner be asked? There are certainly stiff and sharp lessons a disciple must endure on his road through sanctification. Just as we must consider the immediacy and personal price associated, we must consider the manner of spirit we proceed from. The faith of our Lord is not in discouraging these men from their holy ambition, it is to steer them toward a clearer road of spiritual discernment. We know what manner of spirit we are from; one likely to bend perceptions it's own direction. James and John would make it through this and other challenges. It is likely that these others did as well (by our Lord's guidance).
August22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:1-24 JESUS REJOICED IN SPIRIT - It must be pleasurable to observe your followers making their first few spiritual steps. After all that you have invested in them, to set them out on their first solo flights, then to have them return with such encouraging words. These men are just babes and they are sent out among the wolves, but they have held their own. There will of course need to be adjustments, corrections, reproof, for what it is worth though it was a good first effort. Seventy people now doing the advance leg work of the Lord's final journey back to Jerusalem has to be on the radar of a great many chiefs and leaders. Tensions have to be ramping up. The so called wise and prudent are preparing their ultimate denial and rejection. Twelve, now seventy? What next 300 little Jesus' healers coming in to town for Passover? A great many works have been done by Jesus and now by His followers. If there were any chance of believing there would be signs of cracking by now. The faith of our Lord is in the mission ahead and it's timing. It is good that He had a moment of rejoicing and encouragement. However, there is a point where miracles and wonders are too plenteous to be noticed. What is there left to do by the time yet another town is on the "woe unto thee" list. It is time to make toward Jerusalem.
August23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:25-37 HOW READEST THOU - Love the Lord God with all thy heart/soul/strength/mind and thy neighbor as thyself; sounds pretty easy doesn't it? So if you are an expert at the Law of Moses and you want to test this "instructor" that you know to be false you are more than willing to justify your case by expose the hole in Jesus' logic, the more liberal interpretation of "who is thy neighbor". If all that Jesus is to you is "instructor" you have already missed out on the "Love the Lord" part because your Lord is standing right before you and you are attempting to disprove Him. Some love; eh? Chances are more than likely then that you are going to miss out on the neighbor part too. It is far too easy for the notion of Lord to become all of the exteriors and institutions of the Temple and the Law and Traditions. It is too easy to devote yourself entirely (as this man) to everything holy but the person of the Lord. As for the answer Jesus directed the man to, mercy to all even the most despised among you, the trappings of this religious lifestyle are likely to hurry you down the road past the very opportunities to love that your Lord presents your way. In the preoccupation of fulfilling "these" things we miss out on the occasion to fulfill "the" thing we are most commanded to do. The man does not continue to argue his point. Jesus may have given him the answer he expected to hear; this false teacher is a lover of Samaritans and a blasphemer of priests and Levites. He can now again be quoted to others as saying such. This is the way the legalistic mind thinks; it is not a mindset of mercy it is a mindset of justifying oneself above others. The faith of the Lord is in the proper reading of this command. Mercy, love, truth, righteousness all have their root in knowing and loving the person of the Lord and what the person of the Lord has prepared Himself to do for you that you cannot in any way do for yourself... justify. kjv@Isaiah:53:11 @ "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities". HOW READEST THOU THAT?
August24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:10:38-42 CAREFUL AND TROUBLED - My experience would tell me that Martha is the elder sister, though there is no proof. This may not be the only time that the sisters have differed as to their priorities. And it is not to say that Martha is terribly wrong here. This is the way she has been brought up, likely the expectation placed upon her early on by her mom as the elder. In her mind receiving Jesus means providing every comfort and necessity for Him and His guests almost to obsession. It is the servants heart but to the extreme. She would be this regardless of the occasion most likely. Her sister on the other hand is wise to Martha's obsessiveness. There are certainly demands placed upon the hostess but there is also a point where the effort crosses over into obsession and near destructive hostility. I doubt that Martha really intended to criticize Jesus "do you really not care", but that was how far she had let her anger canker. Seems the more this personality type festers the more that they try to take on themselves until they explode. Jesus isn't saying don't be a hospitable host, He is saying come sit and join us, enjoy this evening and this company as well. It is not worth being a gracious hostess if being a gracious hostess means being so troubled and ugly. And it is not to say that Mary is completely in the right if it means that she has put her sister in this impossible situation. I think though in this case Martha has put herself (or that it is an ingrained part of her) that has brought this unexpected interruption to cloud over the otherwise pleasant evening. Martha is careful and troubled about many things. She probably feels that if she doesn't trouble who will? Jesus doesn't expect anyone to trouble this much over Him; if so He would have taken the meeting outside or out into the wilderness. Sometimes trouble is done for the sake of trouble; it is an adverse reaction to importance. There is a better portion, a balance that allows one to serve and care for her guests but lets her relax at the feet and be engaged with the Savior that truly graces her house with His presence. I feel like I've known this woman several times over and I feel for her(s). The faith of our Lord is not to be an extra burden on His children but to be their only burden. He has said to take upon yourself His yoke for His burden it is lite. Perhaps we all should re-examine what we think we are doing for the Lord and what it is that we have added to ourselves and are then demanding of others that is not actually required. Else, we may find ourselves blaming the Lord without intending so. I trust that Martha eventually found this balanced portion. Being aware of the problem is half of the cure. One thing... personal acquaintance/engagement with Jesus is needful.
August28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:11:33-36 THAT THEY WHICH COME IN MAY - See the light. The whole purpose of the man lighting the candle is for they that come in seeing it. It does not say for them to see their way around the room or so they don't stub their toe. Here are some facts about the light Jesus speaks of: Jesus is the light kjv@John:8:12, the light of the world kjv@John:9:5. Believe in the light that ye may be children of the light kjv@John:12:36, he that follow Me shall have the light of this world kjv@John:8:12. He that doeth truth cometh to the light that his deeds may be made manifest kjv@John:3:21, he stumbles not because he seeth the light of this world kjv@John:11:9. Take heed therefore that the light that is in you is not darkness kjv@Luke:11:35. There are many so called lights and enlightenment's. Not one of them do truth seekers come to to have their deeds made manifest nor where their belief is based upon what one person has done for them not what they have done for Him or themselves. Our eye must be single individually, collectively, for the purpose of those that come in to see His light. Focused on the insufficiency of our works and the supreme sufficiency of His. He is the light. The candle is not lit that those that come in can see "oh look they are doing supremely sufficient works now" rather "my works fail as well" and "this Lord may have done supremely sufficient for me as well". The eye will then feed this light to the body, the whole shall be full of light. Evil and darkness are tied to our works, light and fullness to His. Can you imagine the faith of our Lord that there will be all sorts of His children about His side filled with His light? From what was darkness of their own insufficiency into light of His total sufficiency? Works having been made manifest and surrendered to His great work? The joy He must anticipate on their faces as He brings them into the presence of His glorious Father? Sets before these His children their eternal inheritance? So now, when the others come in (and they will), what will they see from you? Your works or His? Your light or His? One last: quote kjv@Matthew:5:16. Do they glorify the Father because of our good works? Or that our eye and body being so filled with His light has produced now a spiritual fruit? His doing within us?
September3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:49-53 BUT RATHER DIVISION - Okay.. Let us size up the human heart. Jesus the Son of God comes, dies for our sins, raises the third day fulfilling all prophecy, ascends with the stamp of approval from the Father, fills our heart with His forgiveness and His Holy Spirit, heaven and earth and life and death there for the choosing. Everyone jumps on board, right? Wrong! As John would later say "the light came into the darkness" "they loved the darkness rather than the light". Let us size up the human mind. Jesus teaches through simple parable the mysteries of God, reveals the plan and will of God, one need only the mind of a child to understand. Every one understands, right? Wrong! As Paul later said "the cross of Jesus is utter foolishness to the wise of this world". What then shall we conclude is the state of man's heart? One psalmist asks "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing" (see kjv@Psalms:2). The prophet asks "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?" (kjv@Isaiah:53). Peter states "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you". Jesus does not seek to be at peace with (tolerate/excuse) man's evil heart, He seeks to cleanse and restore it and while that is happening there "will" be sharp division. Can you think of one other single division any sharper? If three out of five family members do not want His operation on their hearts, three out of five are going to be belligerent to the two that do. If three out of five academics have disdain for the beautiful logic contained, three are going to belittle the two. If three of five nations regard the gospel of Jesus a blasphemous corruption of Mohamed's holy truth, three will war against two. The faith of our Lord is not in a peace here and now, the human heart is in no condition for such peace; peace then is not the first objective. The faith of our Lord is in all of this putrid rottenness being being flushed out, painfully/shamefully exposed, being proven ill, allowed it's full degenerate course; that it be used to prove and purify His follower's sincerity and faith; that at His triumphant second coming all wickedness be once and for all judged and put to end. Then and only then will the human heart be transformed and ready. Then comes His intended and planned for peace!
September4 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:12:54-59 THE FACE OF THE SKY - To put this in context we have the time of division flushing out the wickedness of men being used as a sure sign of the spiritual climate and times of fulfillment, a stern testing by our great adversary the accuser of the brethren, a debt owed to the last farthing if not covered by the blood of Jesus. The test of faith is not only seeing the times at hand and knowing what must be done, but being found doing what must be done when our Lord finally comes. It may be asked why in the end when the Lord knocked many did not open the door unto Him. Shall the answer be that they knew well the times, knew well the thing needing to be done, but delayed in the doing and now must face or hide from the terrible truth? kjv@Deuteronomy:32:29 "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!". kjv@Acts:2:40 "...save yourselves from this untoward generation". kjv@Acts:13:26-38 "... be it known unto you therefore men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins". kjv@Luke:12:57 "... why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?". The faith of our Lord sees of His Father all righteousness being fulfilled and therein the cause and direction of the turbulent weather all about us. All things work hand in hand to achieve His eternal purpose. His faith sees the Father's hand leading Him to His cross and the same hand leading His followers through the trying maze of hostile divisions and adversarial tribulations by the light of that same cross. Yet this storm to shall pass, the Sun of righteousness shall rise, the clouds of doubt shall be mightily put to rest for those that continue in His path.
September6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:10-17 WHOM SATAN HATH BOUND - Jesus has said that He can only do what He sees the Father do. He sees the Father loosening here. #G630 The word means to send away, divorce, pardon. The woman goes one direction and the infirmity goes the other. The more classical view is that God would be causing infirmity either because she is a sinner or because there is a break down in His genetic codes. If we go back one passage to Jesus' talk regarding catastrophe and mayhem, the context may be that this is what it looks like having a fruitless tree. You will recall in the wilderness for forty years people did not get sick, their clothes did not fray, their shoes even did not wear. When they were in God's complete care infirmity did not appear. As they have removed themselves from God's complete care infirmity abounds more and more. You will recall all the many quotes through the prophets that God has always been willing to heal Israel if they would just keep things straight. Like with the collapse of the towers innocent people may be caught under societies rubble. In fallen societies (from God's view) normal sexual inhibitions lessen, diets change, fears of pain and infirmities and deformities and bad deaths rise and thus odd prescriptions and remedies worsen the situation, medicines and surgeries are mis-prescibed, the entire course of affairs have dire affects upon what was otherwise made to work by God's command. It is an environment dominated by abject fear. Worse yet the door is left wide open for Satan to operate at his will. If God's will is not being followed, whose other will is strong enough? Does this mean that this woman was a devil worshiper? Probably not. Does this mean that she was a sinner? Well we all are. Why are we not all folded over? When so much of God's creation works so well as designed, when it does not these relatively few times (and there is no apparent reason why it shouldn't have) it should be a sign that we have as a society left the door open to another's will. It is not as easy as any one person reaching up and closing that door, it is opened by the whole, it effects the whole, it is closed by the Lord when He sees fit (re-establishes a final closure) for the whole. We also have Israel receiving a double measure sworn from the Lord. God's blessings to us are magnified in them for our observation; so too His curses. Israel was given something Holy to possess: His Commandments, His Covenant, His Name, His Temple, His Seed. Moses warned them of how such blessings would turn to curse should they not fulfill their obligations to that covenant. We today possess a similar (extended) form of that covenant in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Should we not expect the same double measure or more should we as a group neglect so great a salvation as well? Jesus appears to be walking in an extraordinary time of infirmity and demonic possession. The fruitless tree as a whole is rotted from the core outward. Yet for now, His work was being done on a smaller individual level because that is what He saw the Father as doing. It is not the time yet to remove all sickness because it is not a time yet where we have all come back to HIM. The holiness of His that we hold is yet held by defiled and idle hands. That this miraculous and instantaneous healing was done on Sabbath better states the idleness that prevails week long because of defiled (dead) religious traditions. The faith of our Lord is simply beyond our capacity to understand; our perception of it is too short sighted if not blind. Signs and indications that we should be seeing as messages and proofs are seen rather as God abandoning us. The big picture healing for mankind is not as instantaneous; it has taken several thousand years already to develop. And each one of us (believer and non-believer) are swallowed up in that plan till it comes to full fruition. That it hasn't already is a sign of the size and scope of the problem.
September8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:22-30 THRUST OUT - If the question presented is how few will be saved, the answer given is to just make sure that you are one of those who do enter. No number is given, we are told that many will not be able to enter. Why not? One common belief today is that all people will make it through. This presupposes that God wants the next life to be just the same as this life, we are free to be and do and believe whatever we want and will therefore spend eternity suffering these same consequences. Another common belief is that only good people will make it through and that this can be any good person of any good faith. This presupposes that Jesus' death and resurrection was not necessary and that Jesus is a liar about nearly everything He taught and said, but oddly His lies may have produced the will in some to do good. A view held by the people in this parable is that because they ate with Him and He taught in their cities that this brief familiarity should suffice for entry. It would be like us today saying because we greeted each other in an elevator you should consider me as friend that you know or that because my Grandmother believed I should be proxied. The thing that strikes me is that suddenly these people realize that they have to get in through the gate to the master. Suddenly they storm the gate demanding concessions from the master. Suddenly there is weeping and gnashing of teeth for seeing who does enter. In the case of these Jews those entering are those that they themselves presumed to be in league with but were not. What a terrible crashing down of all that you've believed in. They are called workers of iniquity. Is there any good that can be worked without God Himself working it? Is there any good that be worked if the work of Jesus Christ is denied or lessened, commingled or distorted? Is there any good that can be worked that in the end still must call/demand upon the concessions of God? Mercy is not a concession to allow one to remain the way that they are. Mercy is a person that is a "stand in" substitution receiving the penalty better deserved to us. The faith of our Lord is in being this stand in substitution for us without which we will in no wise enter into His Kingdom. There is no other good work than that. Separate yourself from that and you have essentially thrust your own self out the gateway of His Kingdom.
September9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:13:31-35 PERFECTED - At first I was having a difficult time finding much to go on in this passage. I am now wondering why certain Pharisees would want Jesus high tailing it the other way. Jesus doesn't really come down on them. There is certainly enormous pressure building up as Jesus has publicly announced His intentions to go to Jerusalem, He has sent many disciples out ahead to the towns that He will go through to get there. These Pharisees use Herod as the reason for the warning, but it could well be their fear of Herod's reaction upon them that they fear the most. Herod has recently killed several Galileans in the Temple and mixed their blood with the daily sacrifice; a vivid message meant for the Temple elite, not so much for Jesus. It is essentially the Herods' temple built for the Jews. Jesus' reply may never make it back to Herod as it would put it's messengers in an impossible even deadly position. No, the Pharisees are going to have to come up with a better plan. Jesus will not back down and is probably amused by this most transparent effort. The faith of our Lord is moving ahead toward His completed work. As much pressure as there is from all sides round Him, as much as that pressure now is intensifying to a head, He is not phased nor distracted. Fearless? In many respects, but not without a painful nervousness (the weight of doing this Himself for the world) that needs to be prayed over. He'll soon be sweating blood. It is better understood as obedience beyond any measure.
September10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:14:1-14 WHEN THOU ART BIDDEN - Jesus is bidden to a Sabbath feast by a local Pharisee. There is an interesting relationship between some Pharisees and temple leaders with Jesus. They (some) do on the surface appear to be hospitable to Him. Why? The answer may appear in His teachings that day. First comes the healing before He even enters. He likely does not plan for such events, but is prepared to take hold of the opportunities when presented. His mission even on Sabbath is to rescue lost souls from the pit contrasted by the Pharisee seeking to leisure with His guests. Next, Jesus speaks of a guest that abases himself so as not to be shamed. What an odd thing to point out if there were not those in the room habitually doing exactly the opposite. Then, He addresses the host that invites only top level guests with the hope of return invitations. Was it that Jesus was invited to be the hosts' spot light presentation (the draw) to his well connected guests? No doubt that the afternoon's conversation was a bit uncomfortable Jesus having set the tone. Just imagine how the conversation went after He departed. Self exaltation verses self abasement is really the issue. Most everything the host and other guests are doing is to exalt themselves. Self exaltation may be the biggest problem we have today with our younger generations and why they feel so imposed upon regardless; because they view themselves as so much above it (the real world that is). One that lifts him/herself to any higher measure than reality will bare will naturally be put upon by anything lesser, things that they feel they're above. Those that abase themselves are truly lifted because real world matters are not bringing them down, matters are seen as opportunities especially concerning our help to others. Job once said "I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame". What a wonderful viewpoint. He was able to be that because he was focused on the needs of others around him, not focused on how to take another step up the social ladder. The faith of our Lord is in accepting when bidden, even when bidden by those who will very soon sentence Him. It is going into places that He knows if all be said that He is not welcome, a room filled with ulterior motives and dishonest gamesmanship. He is the bird and they are the fowler setting the trap' yet He holds to what is true and right.
September11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:14:15-24 MEN WHICH WERE BIDDEN - It is somewhat of a pious assumption by the one guest that he'd be eating bread in the kingdom of God. Sure as a practicing Jew he is invited and he seems sure that he will/has accepted such an momentous invitation. What if the true honoree of that kingdom feast was this same radical rogue that is stirring up all this frenzy that he is talking down to at this very time? Would he be so willing to accept that invitation? He seems to have a vivid picture of what the kingdom feast will be and who all will be there; that picture probably doesn't include this Jesus fellow let alone this Jesus being the for whom this banquet is set. The guests have been bidden for some time, they are planning on it. Now that it is time and every thing is ready they see that this feast is not acceptable and so of one consent they make their excuse not to attend; lame excuses at that. The servants ready message is really the guests second bidding. You can imagine if you had prepared for certain guests and now with one consent they have all backed out on you. You would know that they are sending you a uniform message of blatant conspiring disrespect. The man may feel confident that he will be eating at a feast, but not this God's feast. A second group of the needy and crippled is invited and even a third compelled to come. Those men bidden that conspired not to come because it would involve coming to Jesus will not taste of His supper. Now that description doesn't match all Jews, just all that when all is prepared and ready still reject Jesus. The faith of our Lord is that the kingdom will be filled, maybe not with those whom He first invited, but those who will surely appreciate and come when bidden.
September13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:15:1-7 NINETY AND NINE JUST PERSONS - There are two forms of justification here, those who are justified by Christ the Righteous Servant and those that are justified by the law. As much as the Pharisees and Scribes are convinced that they are justified by the law, Jesus has shown the Pharisees and Scribes as hypocrites and sorely missing the mark called for by the law. They often transgress the law in the very same breath that they are trying to fulfill the it. The is the position all men are in. When Jesus says ninety and nine just He is not talking about men that are justified by the law, He is talking about men whom presume themselves to have met it, whom have been proven not to have met it and yet insist that they have met it. They are in quite the predicament. Why would the Great Shepherd rejoice over their insolent unresponsive hearts? Why would He not leave them to go find the one that has drifted out of their hardened pack and rejoice? Why would He not put the new found believer on His shoulders, carry Him proudly, make a joyful proclamation to all? It is not that Jesus sits with sinners and publicans, it is that He sits with people who see the pack for what they really are, who leave or refuse to go along with the pack in the first place, that are sinners just like those in the pack, who are willing to entertain the notion of Christ, who are willing to accept the promise of His salvation, who are willing to turn from their hardened ways and become Christ's. It is a very large number of people who think that they are above this business of Christ compared that to those that become found. Notice that they did not find Him; He went out and found them. The faith of our Lord does not see justification the way most of us do; it is something that He does for them, not something they do for themselves. Try as you might not to have to need Him, one must be lost before they are found.
September16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:16:1-15 WISER THAN CHILDREN OF LIGHT - Being wise did not make the unjust servant just. It got him no further than a commendation and an awkward place in a parable. So what is it that Lord is commending and wanting us to see as the example? Spiritually speaking, is the steward in the business of collecting other's debt or relieving it with the Lord's goods? The difference between being just and unjust may come down to the man's perception of this very point. The oddity of this passage is that He says "when ye fail". Servants will fail their Lord; fail in the small things, fail in the large. Many fail for fear of failing. Many will fail for letting the others skate by or trying to collect from the for one's own gain instead of applying the goods toward full relief (two masters). Failure apparently is tied into which of the two possible directions men most esteem. We often limit ourselves into being failures instead of risk our way into successful obedience. Risk may be at times going against that which is more esteemed. The faith of our Lord is much about our stewardship of His goods in service to His business interests here on earth. There is a debt that many others still owe. It is the stewards job to take the spiritual goods of the Lord and relieve the spiritual debt of the others. If His goods are wasted on something else then the steward will be called to accounts and his stewardship may be at jeopardy. We are the Lord's stewards just as this man was. Our best advantage is to be trust worthy at all times beginning with the smallest things including mammon. At various times we will fail that calling (wasting or re-purposing it mainly). Our second best advantage is to go back to proper stewardship of goods versus debt and at least do something in that direction. There is also the danger of despising the service to the Lord because of what it takes away from the more pleasurable forms of wasting and profiting and worldly esteem.
September17 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:16:16-18 UNTIL JOHN - If the Law and the prophets were until John what is it about the Law and prophets that does not end? The Law could only save a person if they were able to keep it in it's entirety which no person ever was able to do. A person could continue to squabble as did the Pharisees over the best interpretation of the many details of the Law, but that would get them no closer to salvation which comes only in Jesus. Squabbling make in fact drag them further away. The Law does not end because all of those without Jesus still remain under the lordship of the law to keep it in it's entirety. Those under the lordship of Jesus have the Law fulfilled in Him by grace as a gift. What no one could do, Jesus does for them that believe in Him. Does that mean that believers do not have to keep the Law? No, that means a believer is not condemned by everything he doesn't yet know/understand/interpret correctly about the Law. The Law has brought him to the awareness of the need for Christ, now that he has Christ the Law is to keep him in remembrance of his continuing need. Adultery remains adultery, murdering is murder, to covet covetousness, the love of one God Yahweh and no other god before Him all things hold true. What has changed is that all the divisive striving in the Law has been superseded by a new personal relationship with the King of all Glory. The faith of our Lord is focused on the heart of the believer, if the heart be focused back on Him. If the heart be negligent on this one thing first, the heart has no way of pursuing the rest.
September19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:1-10 FAITH AS A MUSTARD SEED - What does this mustard seed size faith look like? Does it not look like the servant simply plowing or feeding the cattle at his master's command? Doing that which is our duty to do? So if in the course of doing that which we commanded an obstacle outside of our control was in the way of us performing that assigned duty, because we are ultimately doing the task as told, we could if need be demand to the obstacle that it remove itself and it would. The faith is in the master and accomplishment of his command. The obstacle moving is only that, it is yielding to the master's authority. How else does the faith seed look? It is operating in forgiveness inspired by the forgiveness of our Maker upon us. Regardless of the number of times called upon it is given. Rebuke in many cases is wise (see: Proverbs), but forgiveness always required. It is not a matter of taking heed to the offender, it is taking heed to one's self. It may be better for the gross offender to be drown in the sea (similar to where the obstacle was removed), however that offender could well be you if you were not to forgive. Should we think that we are owed a reward from the Master for performing this faith consider that is only doing that which we had been commanded. Many people would think of this mustard seed faith as a positive energy or strong willed determination. If so, could not the offending man in the sea say to the millstone "be thou removed", climb the sycamore tree back out to safety, then call upon you to forgive him another 499 times? The faith of our Lord is in the obedience of His servants to the tasks He has assigned. If something/someone stands in the way of them performing that task, He has given them the authority to move many of these obstacles without having to go back and get His permission another time. It is nothing special or out of the ordinary if you knew the authority of this Master. The elements of faithful obedience (even the beginning seed) to the assigned task has to be present however. That is why this is told to His disciples.
September20 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:11-19 SAVE THIS STRANGER - You just have to come to expect it. It happens all of the time even in our own lives. You have mercy on as many as you can and you are likely to see one (if any) of all of them return with a thanks or a nod or a hand shake or something; right. But, it is not really the reason you do any of it. You do it because it is the right thing to do. I can picture the ten men nearby, maybe on a bluff close to the city. Interesting that they would be there all together. I can picture Jesus with everything else that is going on around Him taking notice out of the corner of His eye. The whole moment has as much to say about the crowd as it does the ten men. Jesus had been down these roads before, He had healed a great many in the past; probably in this very spot. How many of those people had come out to the gates to glorify Him? Probably some...but the thousands? It is interesting that He sent these men on before fully healing them as if almost a test as to whether they would turn back. Did Jesus know beforehand which one would come back? He might, but we don't (and we never will). The one's that we would expect never seem to be the ones who do. He does not seem over upset about it; it just seems to be a point that He is making. One in ten... One hundred in a thousand... One thousand in 10k....those would be pretty good numbers if the math holds up. A Savior could probably pull those kind of numbers; not any of us. So what does that tell you about our natures? The faith of our Lord is not in numbers. If prophecy is true the numbers will eventually come. What is important for now is the quality of faith inside those numbers. Finally, for our own mercy's sake, this doesn't necessarily mean that the other nine were not made whole or that they weren't immediately thankful; it only tells us for certain how that they chose to/not to express it.
September21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:17:20-37 LIGHTNING - If you are looking for the Kingdom of God don't follow where others tell you to look, that it is a place, a political/economic system, a particular denomination or cult; the Kingdom is within/inside you. If you are looking for the second advent don't think that Jesus will slowly appear in California to re-establish a group of latter day followers, He will appear as a bolt of lightening from one end of the heavens to the other. This message is spoken throughout prophecy. The second coming is nothing like the first. It will not be "I wonder if this is so". It will be sudden immediate determined judgment (and not the final judgment even). If there is the time to think back on all of the possessions you will leave behind, don't do it. If there is a brief moment to turn and look back on your city, don't do it. This is not a "pull all the data together to finally decide" moment, this is a "decisions already been made and lived forward for sometime... now it's time to go" half second. This is not the light of regular lightning as well. A ray of light from one end of the physical heavens to the other would take billions of years to travel. This is the pinnings of space and time abruptly superseded by something much more powerful, something (shall we say "someone") at the same time snatching His followers up and away. How can this then be explained by those that do not get raptured up? The message and implications will be perfectly clear to them. If this in fact happens early in the tribulation as many believe, the ugly time that follows is the workings of God condemned souls that seek to put forward a full fledged rebellion against God. Not a few souls, nearly all, and with extreme hatred. The great deception may be that they actually think that they can stage this rebellion against God and win. The Anti Christ not only becomes anticipated but welcome. The flushing out of remaining nominal Christians and Jews by economic and legal means becomes number one priority. The mark of the beast is worn with extreme pride. A worldwide celebration remember is broadcast with people exchanging gifts when the final two great prophets are executed. How can any of this be possible unless such a vile defiance and "in your face God" rebellion has not become the absolute worldwide cause. The faith of our Lord is a tremendous thing when His love and mercy for us is considered. However at this particular unprecedented moment all things change like at no other moment (save Adam and Eve's perhaps). There will be no turning back, not for Him, not for believers, not for those left behind. His lightning is not a mere line drawn in the sand, it is a vast gulf that none can traverse save the relatively few tribulation saints. There will be a final final judgment. It will not be sudden. Everyone of these evil men will look back on this rebellion, and know that He is God, and will have only to bow their knee and confess Him as God before accepting their rightful eternal sentence. It is crazy how much of the picture we don't see that Jesus does.
September25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:18-30 SAVE ONE - Is Jesus saying that He is not good? Is He saying that He is not God? Neither. He is speaking the ruler's hidden thoughts. The ruler is approaching Jesus and addressing Him as "good master" which if truth be told the ruler does not fully believe; not in the general sense of a local rabbi or high priest, not in the overall sense of Lord of Heavens. If so he would have dropped all that he had and followed. So why did he address Jesus as "good master" if he perceives Jesus neither good nor his master? Jesus said that none is good, save one, God. Not even the rabbis of the day were called good because it was doctrine that such a determination would put them on a level of God, which they weren't about to do. It was/is also their doctrine that there is not a triune godhead of Father/Son/Holy Spirit, even though they believe in Holy Spirit and the Seed (Righteous Servant). There must have been some suspicion on the man's part, reluctant yet curious that Jesus is attempting to expose. If Jesus means to say that He is not good/God He by implication is also saying that the Holy Spirit is not good/God either for only one is good implying the Father; and yet that would be blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Rather, He is saying that He is good/God as is the Father, as is the Holy Spirit. Further, as He is good/God then He is Master and need be surrendered to and revered as such. If the master has done such (forgone all His riches and glory) so then should his servant. Imagine a rich lord or barron with many servants that upon an approaching war leaves all his riches behind so as to fight the battle and asks his servants to come fight as well. Yet the servants do not let go of the lords possessions that they hold thus hindering their movements towards the battlefield. It is ridiculous to see an enlisted soldier attempt to fight while his arms are filled with silverware and fine tapestries. The rich ruler hardly realizes that his Good Master stands before him heading down the road to the greatest of all battles, the battle for all men's souls. This man is talking about obediently performing the daily household chores when his weary master is talking leaving it behind for now to join in the fight. Unfortunately, few of His servants are able to do that; none by their own terms. The faith of our Lord is not writing this man (nor any man) off, He is simply identifying the present dilemma. Those that have given up all things for the cause have done so by God having brought them through the eyes of the needle. If this man is to do it it will be by God's hand as well; the good triune God's hand.
September26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:31-34 ALL THE THINGS WRITTEN - Clearly the disciples do not understand. Is there anyone from those who had studied the scriptures to those who had spent the past three and a half years that understood? The question we must ask is why not? It is apparent that unless you have been taken through His experience of the death and resurrection of Christ, you can not grasp what has been written and taught concerning it. Further, unless either the resurrected Jesus Himself or the Holy Spirit (the seal and confirmation of it) open your eyes to it the experience of it is only intellectual at best. At this point no one there even intellectually grasps it. It is a statement of the condition of man that should well be considered, that even having it written and taught and experienced in person, left to man's intellectual resource the connection spiritually cannot be made. The ability required is not within man (neither friend or foe). Further, Paul in his writings suggests that the abilities of man's carnal mind will actually fight (be at complete enmity) against the realization and knowledge of such. The prophets themselves predicted much the same. And it is no surprise to Jesus. It is not as if He is just now realizing this, He has known it to be the case from the Garden of Eden or long before. The divine plan has this human inability fully considered. The faith of our Lord is that even though man has not the ability in any shape or form, the very thing that He is prepared to perform will give man that ability; the ability to finally see and believe to salvation. This is why He must perform this, complete it to it's fulfillment.
September27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:18:35-43 FAITH HATH SAVED THEE - Does Jesus mean saved in the general sense delivered from blindness or in the eternal sense salvation? The man is observably saved from blindness. He persisted in asking for a mercy and despite the rebuke of others he received it. That alone is a good story. Can one be saved in the one sense and not the other? He also identified Jesus as Son of David which ties Jesus back to prophecy. Everyone in the group would also declare the same, however we know that the more that they know about the plan ahead the more difficulty they are having with it. Some have turned and walked away, others will swear to defend that it would not be so. The truth is that the death of sin/death lays at the foot of the cross and eternal salvation rises at the tombstone rolled away. This man has received mercy by being delivered from blindness like so many others. Many have been delivered in this way without knowing and believing in the full salvation simply by faith in the Lord's mercy. This man if he means what he says is well on his way to the greater salvation believing Jesus as Son of David. If he is just repeating what everyone else is telling him then he still has a ways left to go. The faith of our Lord is using the smaller case mercy healing to point this man to His upper case mercy salvation. If the man approached salvation with the same persistent faith that he has healing he will be sure to be with his Lord in his Lord's glory. This illustration happens at a time that all smaller case believers could use most given the days to come.
October1 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:19:45-48 DEN OF THIEVES - Two worlds collide, the world of a heavenly kingdom, the world of tough daily realities. The reality is that for all the miracles and tremendous teachings and wondrous prophecies for the chief people Jesus lacks one major thing; an army to face up against Rome. To get on board with Jesus is to sign the temples' death certificate. Jesus talks about the destruction of the temple because of Israel's disbelief and hardness, but really what happens to the temple and Jerusalem when Rome finally says enough is enough? Masses of people are coming to hear Him now and clinging to His every word. Tax revenues and money rate exchanges are being over turned, rebellion to the rule of Rome fills the air. Jesus being warned not to come now has come. How do they back a man with no army however when Rome would tear this little heaven fest to pieces? Rome expects the Jewish leaders to take care of this. Favorable deals have been struck, intimidating statements have been made, strongman knuckles are being cracked. The leaders are being backed by both sides up against a wall of very harsh realities. What a terrible state for Israel now to be in. How far have they fallen from the glory years to be at the point of sacrificing their own Messiah for the sake of their own safety. Is there then any choice left for them now that they have gone down this road for this many years? The faith of our Lord is about something much larger than even Israel, it is about a very definite undeniable truth. Israel turned it's back several centuries ago and lived a subservient and shadowy existence for far too long. It now will be made the executioner of it's own Righteous Servant. The Scepter of Judah is being ripped from it's hand and all possibility of it's continuance beyond its grasp. The table merchants may be called a den of thieves, but it is a long series of sinful rebellions against God that has stolen this chosen nation away to this.
October2 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:1-8 NEITHER TELL I YOU - When the chief priests and scribes show up you'll notice that they rarely have questions about anything Jesus has just preached. It is as if they are not listening or have no argument with what He is saying. It is as if they come with a prepared test from beforehand. If I was a follower of Jesus with opportunity to throw a pitch at the chief priests and scribes I would ask "where was their levitical authority hiding during the time of all the evil kings"? "Where was their levitical authority all the times Israel backslid and pranced it's way back into captivity"? "Where was their authority when the nation was torn in two, when two more golden calves were hewn"? "Where was the levitical authority when all of the false gods roamed these hallowed halls and filled the high places and gardens of the idolatrous nation"? "Where was the levitical authority when the 500 false prophets surrounded the one true prophet left"? "What makes this days priests and and scribes think that they have any levitical authority left in reserve to judge either of the only two prophets to appear in Judah for over 200 years"? Thankfully Jesus took a more tactful approach then I would have. There is a much longer history between these adversaries and our Lord then any of these prickly little men care to divulge. Jesus looks out upon sheep without shepherds and then looks into the temple to see shepherds that refuse to pastor their sheep. Shepherds that have the gall to ask by what authority the Lord is given to expose their wickedness for all future generations. The faith of our Lord has been very patient and long suffering leading up to these final days, being very aware of everything that transpires behind the walls of this temple, but also being very aware of what is coming to change all that.
October3 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:9-19 THAT THE INHERITANCE MAY BE OURS - If they knew that He was heir, what would make them think that the inheritance would be theirs at any rate? Let's take it a step further. If you knew He was the "head cornerstone", why would you reject Him knowing that He would grind them into powder? Let's take it a step further. If these things were spoken against you why in the same hour would you in the same hour seek to lay hands on Him? Fast forward to modern times. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sanhedrin have all been destroyed and pulverized in one fell swoop (well within what should otherwise have been Jesus' lifetime) and the temple mount given to others for over two thousand years. The Jewish leaders all dismiss Jesus as a false blasphemous liar. Can you Rabbi name me one prophet who could have claimed to be heir before the destruction and scattering of Judah to the far reaches that the husbandmen of that day took out of the Holy City and murdered? Who had told them to their face what they were about to do and they did it anyway? Why did they think that the inheritance was theirs for the taking? Because they thought it was their's (not His) all along. Why do you reject the chief cornerstone still? Because you think that the inheritance has been your's (not His) all along. Given all that has occurred all this time after, what other sustainable reason is there? No! The inheritance is for the Righteous Servant of kjv@Isaiah:53 whose portion will be divided amongst the mighty. The arm of the LORD has performed this wonder. Who ("God forbid") would believe such a report? Those to whom the "arm" has been revealed. Look to the temple mount today. Is it not in the hands of others? Have you not spent this time broken? Has not the so called false prophet's words been true for some time? Is this not by the arm of the LORD? The faith of our Lord is that from the portion that He has received by the travail of His own soul thus claiming His inheritance, He will divide that amongst His strong, the sons and daughters of faith in the fulfilled promise. What a glorious day when He finally comes to remove these others and rules over the vineyard's glorious overflowing fruit! Will you be there for Him?
October6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:20:41-47 GREATER DAMNATION - The concept of a scaled judgment is a tricky one. It would be easy for us to think that because we were slightly better than some others in good works we would receive slightly less judgment. We could extend it even further, that even though we did not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior, we did believe that He was a very good man, we were inspired by Jesus to better love our neighbor and such, this would stand better in judgment than had we not believed/loved at all. Perhaps if we were on the verge of truly believing (teetering on the edge) we could avoid judgment altogether. The problem is that there are not separate areas in hell, one level of torment for the really bad, others graduated for the not so bad and almost good. Hell is hell. Hell is a complete separation from God (not varying degrees). What possibly may be the difference is the level of comprehension of one's utter guilt, that much was given to this servant and much was expected, that the expectation was not carried out, that what was carried out lead many of these tormented souls to this very place. Tyre and Sodom would not have this level of comprehension, but they would have the comprehension that they had lived vile and perverse lives. Those that sheepishly followed their leaders or peers into all manner of falsity and idolatry would know that they had been foolish and wrong, but they would not have the same responsibility for this eternal torment of others as would those given such responsibility over a great many. Interesting that this was tied in our reading to the momentary relief that the Pharisees felt in the debate over resurrection; they were right on one point, but yet absolutely wrong in the totality of their belief. The stumbling point for them was still Jesus being the Christ. This remains the stumbling point for many others as well including even the people who will prophecy and perform great works in the name of Jesus, but still refuse Him as their one and only Christ. Eternity is not a graduated scale of extreme torment to extreme serenity just as salvation is not a graduated scale slight acknowledgment to solely devoted. The faith of our Lord for His part is in absolutes. Absolute heaven and absolute hell. However He does know that on our parts, even the heaven that many will experience may be graduated by our comprehension of our responsibility to the dear ones there with us and how well we sought to fulfill our role in that responsibility. Clear (or clear-able) conscience may be our greatest eternal reward.
October8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:21:5-38 POSSESS YOUR SOULS - At a time when all of this is happening around you the command is "In your patience possess ye your souls". It would be easy for the heart to be over charged, men's hearts failing them for fear, being distress and perplexed. This is not however the heart of the follower of Jesus. Listen to the commands stated here - go ye not therefore after them, be not terrified, settle it therefore in your hearts, in your patience possess your souls, then look up, lift hands, know that the kingdom is nigh, take heed to yourselves, watch ye therefore, pray always to be found worthy. It would be easy for the mind to chase after only the maze of prophetical details. One could ask how are all these odd un-connectable details ever connect to be fulfilled. The Jews looked upon the earlier messianic prophecies the same way and saw the near impossibility of putting all the prophetic pieces together. So much so that they missed the actual fulfillment happening before their eyes in real time. It was really quite easy to put all the many pieces together once we saw how easily God fulfilled them. These end time prophecies could very well be the same for us; illogical or impossible to see as one completed puzzle, but there is no doubt God will have an easy time preforming them all as one as well. More than the individual details revealed, we should consider that within the many details is a fairly straight forward way of keeping ones head through the time to come; obey the commandments contained therein. They are nearly the same commands that would see us through most any other trial or personal tribulation. One other thought. When this time comes what has ever happened to all the tolerant secularists and intellectuals? What has happened to humanism and pacifism and the great enlightenment? Why are they attacking the elect so? Could it be that they cannot withstand the terrors and perplexities of what is come? The faith of our Lord calls a whole lot upon the obedience of these end time saints. The things that they are asked to do and suffer is almost for to shame to us who have it so good now. It may not be their time now, but it certainly is our time now. What have we been asked to do and suffer? Should not we get to doing it before this time sneaks up unawares?
October9 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:1-6 THEN ENTERED SATAN - There are many actors on the stage at this time including Satan, but we need to make it perfectly clear who is directing the action. There is one thing happening, perhaps best described in kjv@Isaiah:53. This time now is between the Father and the Son. The rest is a side show. It is pleasing the Father to put the Son Jesus to this. These men believe that they have the power to make things happen. Even Satan thinks that he is getting one over. Nothing of the sort! If God's will was anything other God's will would be done. God had plenty opportunity to remove Judas. He had plenty of opportunity to strike down these chiefs and scribes. He had plenty of time to move Jesus to a safer location. Jesus knew it was Judas that would betray Him from the beginning kjv@John:6:64, knew that he was a devil kjv@John:6:70, knew that he was stealing from the purse kjv@John:12:6. Choices were made by Jesus all along in obedience to the Father's will that have led Him to this. All of these men have had choices as well, except they chose to play the part of wickedness. They have played their chosen part well, but it is not their show; they are not directing the action they are merely responding to the script. The faith of our Lord is not in worrying or keeping track of who is who in this passion or who is doing what. It is all the Father. It is all the plan. It is all in the Father's hands.
October10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:7-38 I HAVE PRAYED FOR THEE - What does Jesus pray for Peter in this circumstance? That he not have to go through it? That he would clobber Satan over the head with cartoon wooden mallet? No, that his faith not fail. Was there a danger that it could fail? Why else would Jesus be praying? Does this not show an interesting side to the faith of our Lord's? Did He not pray for the others faith as well? Of course He did, but He knew the importance of Peter's faith within the group. Imagine the others had Peter's faith failed. At the same time, as much as there was the possibility of failure there was twice the confidence in the man He had hand picked, plus twice again the confidence that He had in the power of righteous prayer, two hundred times that in His confidence in the Holy Spirit's hand. If left to his own Peter's faith could very well fail (as could ours). But here is the thing, soon Peter will be receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit, the death and resurrection of Jesus will assure that. One hates to see a loved one have to go through this. If however, going through this comes out to mean that, the process becomes all the more hopeful. Peter at this point believes in a uncruxified Christ, one that has not died for sin, one that has not risen and ascended to right hand throne of God. He is most vulnerable to this type of satanic attack. Providing visual and symbolic remembrances will help, revealing what will happen to him in advance will help, making him repeatedly to feel a loving responsibility to feed His sheep after His departure will help. More than anything though to know that the very Savior is praying for the strength of his faith will be encouraging. It is hard to say theoretically what incarnate Jesus does and does not know at this point. What we do have however is an excellent discourse of how much He cared and how much He believed in others, how He steered others toward victory. The faith of our Lord seeks to prove His victorious strength in our human weakness. Get yourself on board that strength with unfailing faith.
October11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:39-46 THAT YE ENTER NOT - There was not any hiding or deception. Jesus went to where He always went. Where He knew He would be found. From other accounts we know that He left Himself little defense dividing His disciples eight and three, telling the three to pray. What was the temptation that they were supposed to pray over? Was it the temptation to try and defend Him? Was it the temptation to try and follow Him to His trials? Was it the temptation to try and disguise themselves amongst the crowd where they would be caught in the position of having to deny Him for their own safety? Is this what would open the door to Satan sifting Peter? There are many temptations on the road ahead for these men. Without knowing what one was likely to face how would one go about praying over their temptations? Like the Lord's model prayer one would fill their minds and hearts with the righteousness of God and His kingdom, submit oneself to His will, surrender ones earthly cares asking for His provision and deliverance, offer repentance and seek forgiveness, acknowledge the essential attributes of God, pray this again as the corporate "us". Not everyone did this. Apparently the wrestling over who was the greatest had worn them all out. Jesus is going through something that we cannot explain. We like to focus on His petition, but what we should be focusing on physical agony that He is under even after being supported by an angel. What strength did the angel give? Probably confirmation of the Father's answer to the petition, that this was indeed the Father's will. This extreme pressing of Jesus to the point of blood coming through the pores you will note is happening before Jesus is placed into anyone else's custody. The disciples may be vaguely aware of this sudden change, they are sleeping for sorrow. The temptation may be to hide in sorrowful sleep from what is happening, that it is by the Father's hand, that it is happening before anything other, to be overcome with the developing situation and resort to one's own carnal resources to hold it off. The faith of our Lord steps outside of it's agony for the moment to check on the others and finds them unconscious. He exhorts them once again to pray for themselves.
October12 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:47-53 YOUR HOUR - The guards are there under orders, they are going to do what they are sent out to do. One has to wonder though what they are thinking individually as Jesus heals their buddy's ear. I believe that these are Temple guards; pretty easy uneventful duty til now. They are probably as unfamiliar with wielding a sword as is fisherman Peter. They are no doubt familiar with the crowds of followers Jesus has drawn to the Temple daily and the calls of Hosanna and probably not so familiar with the arguments being tallied by their bosses the Sanhedrin. Do they also know of the false witnesses being coaxed up? Here the man that has taken them to this park is pointed out by this possible messiah as having betrayed Him with a kiss. This possible prophet has called for calmer peaceful heads to prevail at this time and has questioned the chiefs and elders as to proceeding against Him as a common thief yet oddly in such secrecy as if they knew how the masses would react. Yet of all of this talk the most eerie statement is captain Malchus' ear and the look of startled awe in his eyes. What argument is there against that? The power of darkness is that to those serving it there is no argument involved. One does what one does because there is penalty and consequence to not doing it. One is not paid for thinking through the facts and coming to a rightful judgement. Realize however what these men are forced into questioning. Recall when you were a non-believer and the anxiety you felt approaching anything Jesus related. Translate that tense inner apprehension to these men and amplify it by the obvious fact that you are now called upon to enforce the capture of this Holy Man and take Him even to Pilate (the man who recently slaughtered a host of Galileans on your temple steps just to make a political point). There are times when one ear speaks louder than several mouths. This should have been one of those times. The faith of our Lord is voluntary towards it's duty to the Father. The duty of darkness is demanded and employed and coerced. These men will carry out what they have been directed to no matter what they believe personally, but so too will our Lord Jesus in His hour.
October14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:63-65 PROPHESY WHO - There is someone within eye or ear shot that has relayed this information to us. Peter is no longer nearby and the other disciples no where near. I doubt (though it is a remote possibility) that it could be any of the women folk such as the Marys as this is still early on at the high priests house and guests other than the false witnesses and late coming elders are likely disallowed. That would mean someone we know to be in support such as Nicodemus or someone else unknown that was either sympathetic or later became so. It would be hard to imagine anyone not becoming unsettled about the treatment of any prisoner in this manner let alone a proven miracle man such as Jesus. This is the High Priest's house after all, not exactly accustomed to having prisoners interrogated there I am sure. There are still the Law and Customs as well to make ones conscious convulse, but apparently not. Those who were sincere about these godly things must have been few in number or quite silent. Thus we begin to see the makings of a mob mentality that will mushroom against Jesus. The aggressive are bullying and condescending and unrestrained. The cultured are overly quiet and self protective and timid. They may be brave and tell us about it after the fact, but, certainly not do anything about it at the time. The faith of our Lord is unswayed, He is there for whatever the Father wishes to put Him to. This is not about the sinfulness of these men right now, it is about the righteousness from above, the righteousness of the plan, the righteousness of the act. Like sheep to its' shearers He will remain silent and obediently willing. That was His prerogative. What should have been these men's?
October15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:22:66-23:25 YE SAY THAT I AM - It is said by many that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God, that the gospels have been corrupted into claiming that for Him. Here Jesus claims that He would not be believed if He did tell it. Further He said that herefore after He would be at the right hand throne of God. Does that mean that that He was making the claim to be the Son of God? The chiefs, scribes and elders took it to mean so. How does one corrupt the fact that the well schooled Hebrew scholars and leaders sought vehemently to kill Jesus because of this blasphemous claim, that they falsified information on a trumped up charge of national perversion and sedition, that they accused him of claiming to be Christ which by prophetical necessity is the same Son of God, that neither of the state authorities could not find evidence for the trumped up charge and that the leaders still pursued the death sentence for Jesus over that of a seditious murderer? Jesus does not have to claim it at this point because everyone there knows that it is the claim that He is by implication making. The issue then (as it is now) is whether one believes the claim or not, not whether the claim has been made. Not believing that the claim has been made is cheap and lazy way intellectually of not having to believe in Jesus the Son of God. It is employed mainly by those other religions that want to borrow from the teachings/goodness of Jesus without having to take Him at His word. The faith of our Lord is in much more than words, it is also in accomplishments and reactions. What better way to answer whether you are Son of God than have your adversaries unwittingly and against their will prove it.
October18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:23:50-56 BEGGED THE BODY - There is some guess work here to be done as to the faith of Jesus in the execution of this burial matter. One, all the arrangements could have been left in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Joseph and Nicodemus did as they were led of the Holy Spirit. Two, we had mentioned previously with securing the donkey on Palm Sunday and or the upper room at passover that Jesus easily could have made arrangements himself for these matters apart from the disciples. Knowing these two men He could have asked them to do this. Three, the men could have done this of their own volition seeing that other arrangements (or the lack of) were unsatisfactory. In this case the Holy Spirit would have supported their ambition. Four, it may have been the combination of any or all of these things that the Holy Spirit used to perform the necessary task. To one extent it wouldn't have mattered who or where that they buried him, thirty feet of cement, and He still would have come out. It could have been the vaults at Fort Knox with an entire division of Marines guarding it, it was still going to happen. What would be important is for more than just a few followers to have witnessed it in order to testify of it and I am sure that the Spirit would have made sure of that. It may even be better for the critics to know that there wasn't any set up to this alleged magic trick, that it happened quite organically. In this regard we may not fully know the faith of our Lord as to the means, I do not know of any prophecy prescribing how this played out, we can however know His faith in the outcome and results.
October19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:1-12 WHICH WAS COME TO PASS - The faith of our Lord stands out in this passage as to how much He had entrusted to the future. His disciples and followers genuinely did not understand nor were they prepared even though He had told them plenty of times beforehand. Leaving them before they had the slightest clue, observing in their conversations and reactions their lack, knowing that they would be scattered and God's hand turned against them (kjv@Zechariah:13:7) all shows a level of faith equal in importance to the faith that He had in His own resurrection itself. It is clear that they were not going to understand nor believe until they had seen these things for themselves, they were going to be caught completely off guard. Along with their understanding was going to have to come their remembrance. It appears the Jesus knowing that their temporary understanding being so distant would have had approached everything said/done up to this time specifically in a fashion optimized for future immediate recollection once the actual act had been accomplished. Think of it as time released revelation. Add to His effort the effort of the pre-existing scriptures to further support and explain and we see that He has been operating in this time released mode all along. Now that the act is performed what does it all mean? That is what will be sorted out and realized in the days to come until the Holy Spirit comes to teach them all things. Makes me to wonder what else they thought they knew that they really didn't? What about us? The faith of our Lord is seen as a long term process leading man from the very point of creation forward to the point of believing and understanding and relying upon the righteous act between Father and Son onward to the new creature in Christ to the all things gathered unto Him Kingdom in eternity. That which has come to pass is about to become that divinely empowered trans-formative process that which makes all that they (the Godhead) have ever intended happen. Much of this happens in the spiritual foreground without our understanding. We should understand now that on our part it is largely left to reverence and humble acknowledgment.
October22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@Luke:24:50-53 HE BLESSED THEM - Doctor Luke began this exercise as a means of detailing these events to foster certain man Theophilus' certainty in these matters. It is by no means an exhaustive detailing (how could any such work be given the subject matter?), but enough to be most convincing. The letter will become important as the years go on and other stories and fables begin to germinate. This letter along with a few select others will become the standard barrier to keep us grounded to the true faith in the midst of so much other chatter. Work will begin immediately by many to disprove it and disassemble it and detach it. It will be this harsh acidic test throughout the ages that will make it to standout to demand our more consideration. Two things in this passage should begin any examination, that they (those who saw all this) worshiped Him, that they were continually praising and blessing God, which is most likely the point years later where Theophilus first encountered them. Theophilus, like us must first consider why do these people behave in this manner and what/why they believe in this Jesus. The story is laid out so that any person of any intellectual ability can examine it and come to terms with their own beliefs. The Lord did not write these things down Himself as with other so called messiahs but relied upon the testimony of common down to earth men and their life long living and sacrificial reactions to what they had witnessed. Such proves to be a powerful indication of the veracity of said evidences. The faith of our Lord is in men being transformed deeply by His message, so deeply as to desire to testify on His behalf to others, so as to spread such transformation to many more as well. Many will come to know and praise/worship God because of Him.
October24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:19-28 IF THOU BE NOT THAT CHRIST - Apparently if left to their druthers there would be no baptism. One would have to be either someone that they believed in long ago that that didn't believe and persecuted at that time or one would have to be one now whom they don't believe and are going to persecute shortly. All this over a simple baptism of repentance. This is not the baptism that Jesus will provide. Those who are baptized in this manner are only being prepared for the eventual baptism for the remission of sins that will come after the cross. We are not even sure how many of these souls followed through to the real deal; likely they were swept up in the moment and faded away unaffected. The preparing the way has more to do with the timing of the prophecies, one had to happen before the other. It made for quite a news worthy spectacle; other gospels have John calling these critics a broad of vipers. The faith of our Lord we have said is in the testimony of men like John, but it is also in the testimony of the prophecies and in the testimony of these men's actions against Christ. How would you like to explain to the prophets why you killed them and their Christ believing all the time that it was what God wanted you to do. John is not Christ nor Elias nor that prophet, He is the one who prepares the way of these testimonies.
October26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:1:35-42 COME AND SEE - There are pivotal moments in one's life where a decision to change or start anew is stepped out on. In the case of two the one thing lead to the next. Had they not made the original decision to follow the Baptist they would not have been in a position to decide on the next. In a sense the opportunity came to them. In another sense now they have to pick up and go to the opportunity. They are asked what is it that they seek. Now you could imagine not knowing the first thing about who this Messiah actually is. You are filled with a hodge podge of bits and pieces of heresy and conjecture and interpretation, you are filled with certain hopeful expectations, but there is absolutely nothing that you know about His manner or nature or temperament. This to you is a total stranger and you are going after Him based on the word of a wild and crazy locust eater. Further, now others are being introduced to Him by your acquaintance and testimony. We are told elsewhere that there wasn't anything physically about Jesus really that would indicate or point Him out, make us to desire Him. So for these men it must have been the word or the buzz that was developing; we are not told whether He has done/taught anything spectacular yet. To often in our own lives our formulations are based everything but the testimony of people in the know, people that have been searching these details out. We wait until we are desperate, until we see the indisputable, until the evidence pounces upon us; which means we spend a whole lot of time just waiting. These men however seem much more intellectually sincere and honest about their approach. The are asking simply where is the Rabbi staying and taking it from there as it comes. The faith of our Lord doesn't need to drive men to utter desperation or into the miraculous to get their minds/hearts to follow, it is intriguing enough on it's own merit. It is observed here as spreading based upon the testimony of prophet God had firmly established who prepared the way by calling men to universal repentance. Once repentant, the heart is more likely of inquiring into the strange and unfamiliar paths of God's bolder righteousness.
October31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:3:22-36 GIVEN NOT BY MEASURE - Isn't it interesting that the Baptist's mission of preparing the way by calling Israel to repentance/baptism didn't end at the start of Jesus' ministry and that along with the miracles and teaching Jesus is also having His disciples baptize followers just like John's? The baptism of the Holy Spirit mentioned earlier does not come into effect until after the death and resurrection of Jesus at Pentecost. Jesus has that Spirit in Him without measure, but it is not for the sharing at this particular point of time. John the Baptist has been moved and used mightily by the Spirit from even in the womb, but He is not filled with the Spirit in the same sense that we all as believers from Pentecost on will be. Jesus speaks the words of God like no other has nor ever will because He is the Son, He is from above, He is from heaven, He is above all, He is the bridegroom, He is filled without measure by the Spirit. It would be one thing to be skeptical of say a prophet until his word is proven, but to be skeptical of Jesus? What better source is one ever to have? Should one receive His testimony the seal would be set that God is true; one would have eternal life and of an answer of a good conscience one would then be baptized. Many many many were baptized by the two concurrent ministries driving towards the same goal, the soon baptism of the Holy Spirit afforded by the death to sin at the cross and the resurrection to new spiritual life. The faith of our Lord is that this stage of the testimony will lead men to receiving the further stage, testimony of the new life signed sealed delivered. No one fully receives the word at this time and He knows it, yet He is willing that they be baptized of water just the same until that time when all will be presented the Spirit to receive. Himself filled without measure, measuring out a goodly portion to soon fill the rest.
November5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:1-15 WILT THOU BE MADE WHOLE - There are several points of interests in this passage. One, there is a great multitude of sick and diseased gathered at the pool, but Jesus is said to have gone to just one and then conveyed Himself away. Was it because of the Sabbath? Because of the number of years this man had suffered? Because of the hold this apparent non-biblical mythology had on the others? Could there be more for Jesus to achieve in His short stay than just the healing of all the sick? It is known that often times Jesus healed as many in a day as came to Him; some but not many on Sabbath. It is also known that healing does not guarantee belief toward salvation, the ultimate goal. Perhaps the answer is in what Jesus later said to the man "sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee". Could it be that healing indiscriminately for the sake of merely healing has it's unintended consequences? The immediate relief of oppression that results in the increases of sin which brings even greater sickness and disease? Who are these people that would believe in a angelic healing of only the first person into the water? Where in the Bible is there an account of a angelic healing of humans? Does not this angel mock the "respecter of no man" God Jehovah? People that believe in this pool angel and not the Son of the living God among us are exactly the type of person that would sin all the more upon their release. Maybe Jesus is sending a stern message to these people in the form of the message they are sending everyone else by their mythology. Two, Jesus did not mention the man's sin to him before healing him, nor did He mention his faith or forgiveness. The man was healed strictly by the command of Jesus. Jesus then made it a point to go back to the man and warn him against any further sin. We can not say that this particular long term impotency was a result of an earlier sin. We only know that something worse could come if he sins from here out. Third, the healing of a man thirty-eight years ill is of absolutely no interests to the Pharisees, only the movement of his mat on Sabbath. You could imagine their horror if eight hundred cripples had risen and taken up their mats. Fourth, this account is likely out of sequence meaning that John inserted it here to support his point previous or to come. If the previous, it is meant to go along with the difference in believing having seen verses believing it will be seen. The faith of our Lord is in merciful mercy, deliverance from the sin that binds all of us leading toward eternal salvation. There is more to His plan then spending our days by a pool waiting for the troubling of water, more than seventy five second place paraplegics having to be rescued from out the water, more than many rising and going home to do whatever it is they have coveted doing from their beds all this time, more than rebuking one man who has just been given back his life carrying his bed roll to who knows where. The plan is for life and that life is in Jesus.
November6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:16-30 HEARETH MY WORD - This passage is an amazing display of our Lord's faith. The Pharisee's have just accused Him of thinking Himself equal to God. He reveals how that arrangement works. In His present state He will do nothing of His own self. What He see's the Father do, that is what He will do. He seeks not His own will. Think of all the things thus far we have seen Him do. Think of all the things that He is about to do. Think of the cross for which He is best known today for doing. Surely now the Father has not put Himself technically on the cross and died for sin, but literally He has shown that to Jesus. It is said that the Father has given the Son judgment, the cross is that judgment. Jesus has seen it, has understood it, has pursued it, will become it because He seeks not His own will. The judgment then for us is quite simple and straight forward. He that believeth this Son's word and He who has sent Him has eternal life. The Father is showing Him things along the way to do that will make that belief all the more believable for all men. When He makes the man at the pool whole, He see's the Father doing that. When He releases the legion of demons from the grave dwellers soul He see's the Father do that. What a clarity of vision He must have and need to upkeep. It takes constant prayer and devotion. He can see it written before Him in scriptures placed hundreds even thousands of years before Him. He can see it in the Holy Spirit moving Him from location to location. He can see it in His dreams and visions. He may be able to see the event right before the event occurs and know to do it. Whether He is shown an overview/outline/direction or the brilliance of detailed motions the effect is just the same. So not only is He equal, He has surrendered that equality in order to perform the will of the Father. He has not come to condemn any man in the way that we mean it for only the man himself by not believing in His word and He that sent Him can do that. Even the those in the graves shall hear His voice and raise up to be judged, those having done good by believing to the resurrection to grace, those having not believed to the resurrection of damnation. Many will ask "how could He do that?". The question is rather "why would man not do that?". Why would the Father do this? That the Son might be honored even as the Father is. It is an equality certainly, not though as a simpleton would think. The faith of our Lord is in a very intimate relationship to/with the Father who has given Him all things and is placing all things at His feet. As the Father has loved the Son, so the Son is loving of the Father. Not just in words and platitudes, but in actionable deeds and obedience's. Our faith then is in what the Son has shown the Father to be doing. As we love the Father, His Son having been seen by us to be sent, we see what it is we are to do likewise seeking not our own wills.
November7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:5:31-47 WHOM HE HATH SENT - We come back to testimony and witness. If Jesus was to testify of Himself and have no other form of witness, there would be no difference between Him and every other wanna be messiah. He can be believed to be who He claims first and foremost because of what the evidences and witness is all around Him. It is not just because of what a man like the Baptist says about Him (important as that is), it is not just because of what a man like the Apostle like John is testifying to, it has everything to do with what the Father is doing through and around Him to confirm everything that they all are saying including Jesus. Crippled men do not just rise and walk, the Father makes it to happen. Why does He make it to happen around Jesus? Because Jesus is the one that the Father is testifying to. Not anyone can tie over a hundred mismatching prophecies together seamlessly, some without even being born yet. Why does the Father make it happen around Jesus? Because the Father's finger is pointing to Jesus. There is an honor that only the Father can give and He can only give it to one sinless person. All witness and testimony points to Jesus even the testimony of Moses. And if pointed to Jesus then away from those that the word does not abide in, away from those that seek honor among themselves, those that have not the love of God within. The key phrase is repeated throughout this passage "whom He hath sent". He did not just arrive or make Himself to be this. Not just any man can claim being "sent" without every single evidence past and present saying that very same thing. The faith of our Lord is not in what He says about Himself alone convincing us, it is in what everything (even creation itself) is saying about Him thus proving His claim. No man in and of himself can do anything on this scale unless it is the Father doing it for Him. He has been sent!
November8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:1-15 WHENCE SHALL WE - It says that Jesus knew what He was going to do. He was going to feed over five thousand here on a grassy knoll with whatever they had present. In so doing He was going to examine the hearts of those there with Him; for their sakes. There had to be wondering among the disciples as to how this was going to happen, obviously it could not happen by any earthly means, but that did not stop the disciples from obeying the command and moving forward into the crowd with their baskets. We could say same thing about nearly anything spiritual still today, "how is this going to happen", "there is no earthly way". These things become an examination of our hearts also. Will we obey and move forward? The men could have been made laughing stalks ("What did you think was going to happen? Did you really think?"). They were not. Now is the examination of the crowd. Are you really going to reach up and grab that imaginary piece of something that the silly disciple of this strange man is going to pretend to hand you? It looks like they are handing out something however. Could it be? Now that you have eaten to your complete satisfaction what do you think? Was that fish? Was that barley loaf? Are there really twelve bushel baskets of left overs? Well suddenly, unexplainably, you think that this strange man is not so strange as it first seemed. You are thinking that He very well could be "The Prophet come in to this world". By the utter gasp throughout the crowd you know that others are thinking the very same thing. Some have taken to psalms and dancing, others to contrite prayer, as a whole there is awe and amazement. Now comes the examination of the reader two thousand years after. What, you don't believe in "The Prophet"? "The anointed One"? How could He? How is it? The gasps around you continue; different times, different people, different ways, gasps just the same. People who were once just as skeptical as you; now they too are dancing. You are right actually you know! There is no earthly way; yes. That does not mean that there is no heavenly way however. Why is it that Jesus knows what He is going to do beforehand, but chooses by doing so to examine our hearts? Because our hearts need to be examined. We need to be drawn out of our disbelief and challenged by what is bigger then we are willing to accept. What if one of the disciples just said "no"? "I don't believe in this"? "I am not going to entertain this any longer"? "I don't need to be tested in this way"? "Just say what it is you are going to say and we'll get along to Passover"? What if one of the crowd had stood up and shouted "you are all crazy"? "I'm going back down this hill and getting me some real fish, some smoked fish"? Ask yourself, was there anyone there that day that did this? Why not? We have been talking throughout about witness and testimony. How Jesus on His single testimony alone would not be legally convincing. How that with all the other testimony and the witness of all else that there was no earthly way for things to happen the case is much better made (It is that part this we choose not to believe). And with all of that the realization is made that it is God the Father pointing to this "Prophet" as if He has never before pointed or never again, the evidence is near insurmountable. That the sacrificial Passover depicting the blood of the Passover Lamb and deliverance from bondage is always close in the picture, the proving then is a test of our willingness to step out from our sin by His grace and righteous provision and to move forward. This crowd collectively decided to take Jesus by force to make Him king making the examination both wonderfully passed and horribly failed simultaneously. They are not yet willing to step out from their sin, only ready to make Him the chief of it. The faith of our Lord is that this too will one day pass, and that is why the proving. To get from where a soul is to where it needs to be takes a complete transformation, yet the soul no matter where in this process it is believes that it is already fully arrived. The proving is a reminder that this transformation is not earthly possible. It is heavenly if at all. Continually stepping out and obediently moving forward through this proving is to be our part of this transformation. Whence then shall we?
November10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:25-59 VERILY VERILY - The phrase is not only Jesus pointing us to a truth, but highlighting the truth by use of the compound. Four times by my count it is said in this passage underlining different aspects of the same truth. kjv@John:6:26 questions us as to our motives for seeking Him. kjv@John:6:32 Just as the miraculous manna in the wilderness alone sustained Israel those near forty years, so to is the flesh and blood shed alone sustaining to us eternally. kjv@John:6:47 Belief in the person of Jesus Christ being sent by the Father and the all sufficiency of His completed work is the lone access to eternal life. kjv@John:6:53 The flesh that bore our sin and the blood that was shed for the remission of our sins/cleansing must be fully partaken of for there to be any life in our soul's present or future. Having then these four keys, why do we seek Jesus if not for this life brought upon us by His sacrifice and resurrection? What has it to do with anything less than that, like some personal temporal benefit or advantage? kjv@John:6:29 This very thing is the work of God. kjv@John:6:38 This very thing is the will of Him whom sent Jesus. kjv@John:6:44 No man can come to the saving knowledge of Jesus unless the Father draw him, kjv@John:6:45 unless the Father has taught him, kjv@John:6:39 that the Father has given us unto Him. In the context of what we had just been taught (us being proven our insufficiency) (the greater availability and sufficiency of His Divine power) we face the reality of our mortal predicament. There is no earthly way for us to become eternal; the life we have today is nothing but a spiritual death living forward towards a physical death. There is no life nor substance for our soul outside of Christ. We must rely solely upon the miraculous flesh and blood of the "Sent" and "Anointed One". This is the true manna from heaven. This what we should be laboring towards. The faith of our Lord has nothing to do with what the people want Him to be, everything with what the Father needs Him to be. The Father needs Him to be life unto the spiritual dead and physically dying. The Father needs Him to be their "Manna" now and eternally. The Father needs to draw us to this conclusion otherwise we would not come to this of our own. There is only one way for the Father to do this - to send Him down and to raise Him back up, to make us to believe in this. This then is the verily verily of truth.
November11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:6:60-71 WILL YE ALSO - The proving began with Philip and Andrew. It ended with many leaving. Jesus knew what He was going to do beforehand and He also knew who was going to believe because of it; not many. We are told no one comes to Jesus but those who the Father gives. We also are told later in the end when Jesus prays in the garden that Jesus did not lose a one of those given except the son of perdition Judas. This would suggest that originally Jesus was given as few as eleven. The others involved such as the women that often traveled and served Him might either be part of that number in a different sense or will become part of that number fully at His resurrection. Remember that there can be a difference between being in the process of being drawn to Jesus by the Father and being fully given by the Father, between being taught of the Father and receiving He that has been sent. The length of this delay however may be a pre-cruxification dilemma as now we can be taught by the Holy Spirit of the entire completed work of Jesus without Him first having to perform it as here. I do not believe that this meant all of those who walked away this day stayed away either, only that they no longer walked with Him physically while He was here on Earth. In a real sense not even the eleven disciples are fully aware of what it is that Jesus will be shown by the Father to actually mean to them. They believe proportionately and somewhat selectively, but yet are said to be given. That Jesus knew this beforehand says a lot about the human heart and it's condition; that it cannot come to this saving grace on it's own; that it is a divine drawing and a spiritual process. The conviction and acceptance realized of this condition may well be the initial result of the drawing. Many left Him initially rejecting this truth. Some of that many are likely because of this pending conviction to return at some point. The faith of our Lord is definitely in the process performed by the Father and Holy Spirit. He can prove out the stark realities present in this condition because He knows that the divine process is in motion and ultimately effective. It seems to be a very long and deep process, but it is what sets us apart preparing us for the eternal. In this we know He truly is that Christ, Son of the living God.
November13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:14-24 JUDGE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT - There is no doubt that we all are prone to judging by the appearances. In this chapter alone we have the family judging what would be best for the ministry of Jesus based upon the appearances as they saw them (even though they did not believe His claims). We have Judean disciples discouraged because all of His recent work appears to be done in Galilee not Judea. We have on lookers judging Him by the appearance of Him not being properly educated (as if that made any difference as to doctrine). We'll soon have Pharisees judging a particular healing on a Sabbath when their own practice of circumcision on Sabbaths gives the same appearance, guards not taking hold of Him because of their perception of the authority with which He speaks, others briefly believing on Him because of the number of miracles He has performed, a attempt to instill the false perception by repetition that Jesus is from Galilee not Bethlehem and therefore not Christ, an attempt to paint the appearance of the guards and Nicodemus as clueless rednecks that know not the law, and certain people questioning the appearance that the Rulers may know that He is Christ but are hiding it. A whole lot of this minefield that Jesus is having to navigate through is sown by the fault riddled human reliance upon appearance and perception. Appearance is largely what ever one wants it to be. There are so many convincing directions that it can go all of which are likely wrong. Jesus says that His doctrine is not His own it is the doctrine of the Father who sent Him. He says that He does not speak of Himself nor seek His own glory. His says that if we understood this we would know Him to be true. They know not the Father so it gives the false appearance that He doesn't know what He is talking about. Face it, evidences that we base much of our doctrinal decisions upon are nothing more than judgments based upon appearances; it appears that most other people believe that, it appears that I will be hassled if I publicly believe this, it appears that more learned men then I see many holes and contradictions in the New Testament. Friend, it appears that you have let these gutless scholars and History Channel (Alien and Ghost History Channel) documentaries make all your decisions for you. The righteous judgment is rather simple. You give Jesus the same open ear and investment into hearing Him out as you would hope to have yourself when you are similarly judged. You investigate His claims and give it opportunity to either prove itself true or fable, but you do that effort yourself just as you would want Him to do for you. The faith of our Lord is that He knows the Father and the Father has sent Him. It is a hard truth to convince to those who know not God and who make their judgments solely on appearances, but He believes that it will happen and that we will begin slowly to judge all things by righteous judgment.
November15 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:7:45-8:11 AND TAUGHT THEM - With everything that is going on around Jesus it is good to know that there are still people that want to hear Him and are willing to be taught. Wouldn't you have loved to hear what the teaching was on this day? We are not told what it was and it seems that many times He is "teaching what?" when what we are told about what interrupts it or occurred outside of it. Take the feeding of the five thousand and others, times when He taught all day or three days straight, we know not a word, but we do know what else took place. We do have some of His teaching mind you, the sermon on the mount, the Olivett discourses, weaves of parables etc.. Chances are His teachings were much like those. Perhaps they were exactly those just for a different audience and that is why we are not told about it (we've already heard it). Wouldn't you like to hear Him tell it again and again? There is the chance just as likely that it was something completely different, perhaps reading and teaching from the Old Testament stories or from the Law or from the Prophets. Wouldn't you have loved to hear His take on ancient world history? A walk through the book of Job? Instead, we are privy to what the Pharisee's are thinking, how their minions are processing their reactions. We also have what He taught as a result of these occurrences. This leads us to believe that as important and engaging as the mystery teachings of Jesus were, often times what was going on around them is more of what we need to know; at least right now. I imagine that in Heaven we will have the time and opportunity to catch up to these lessons. There will be plenty of occasion to go over to Joseph's and hear Joseph himself recount his time in Egypt. It will be good to hear Job himself describe what he was thinking. How about an evening with Stephen or Silas or Luther; diner with the Grahms? There will be time for this I am sure, but for now we are faced with the task at hand which is often best understood by the contrary reactions of reprobates. It is a look into the heart of sin, the thoughts of those who seek to entrap, the insults and slander and hypocrisy of those who should know better, the short sighted reasoning's and justifications of the power hungry. The teaching actually is all about the cross and everything that led up to it so that we would be able to know what it means with and beyond and because of it. The faith of our Lord is there early in the morning every next day; He is always back at it. A storm surge of opposition and scheming can be brewing all around Him and you know what He'll be doing and where He will likely be found - teaching. Thank God our Father for that!
November18 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:8:42-47 UNDERSTAND MY SPEECH - You may have noticed that everything that Jesus is saying is being taken entirely the wrong way. It is as if He is not talking at all, they cannot hear it. It is not even logical point and counterpoint, it is logical point and outright bastardization. Why is it that His speech cannot be understood? How prevalent is this? We see His opponents doing this, do we see His allies doing this as well? Is it universal? Chances are yes! If we were to add back in the topic from the previous passage of believers/continuers being set free indeed, we may have a clue as to what our bondage largely consists of. He states that the lusts of our father we "will" do; the language suggests that it would be impossible not to do his (the Devil's) lusts unless He Himself (Jesus/Truth) has set us free. At the point of this passage no one has been set free yet. Can we say then at this specific time that no one is from the Father yet and that no one truly loves Jesus? Is there anyone on scene that clearly hears God's words? No; therefore they hear not because they are not yet of God. If this hypothesis is true it would mean that the faith of our Lord is standing utterly alone at this time a complete foreigner to both friend and foe looking forward to a time after the cross when friends one by one would be crossing over into the adoption of the sons of men. Now we should ask whether this same universal condition still exists? For this we must caution believers with the words of kjv@John:8:31-32 that it is not merely the belief in Jesus that sets us free but the continuing in His word as disciples that reveals the truth and then it is this revealed truth that sets us free. If this means free from the bondage of doing the lusts of our former father then we see that continuance toward discipleship must then come first. If this hypothesis is true then it would mean that the Lord stands with some looking out as near strangers at a field of potential masses whose chains have been lifted but have yet to trust and experience the continuance up from the cellars into the open light of discipleship. We must then again ask... are we hearing the word of Jesus so as to continue in it? Do we understand what He is really saying or are we making it out to whatever we want it to be? Are we bastardizing it? As to the points I have already hypothesized about our Lord, one would think "isn't this a terrible and lonely thing we are watching Him go through". To this we must ask "is this not why He came"? The faith of our Lord is in making a way for the completely detached to come unto their true Father. God is their Father, but they have sold themselves over to another. There is no other course for them out unless He purchase them back first. Now maybe we can hear His speech!
November21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:9:13-34 A MARVELOUS THING - Since the world began, that is a long time. A man born blind is made to see. What difference would it make where the healer was from? He would still require serious consideration. How could just any person perform such a thing? Let alone a sinner? It is often asked why Jesus used the mud and the wash. It is commonly held that it was used to help build the man's faith. The man did not see what Jesus was about to do. The man at least would have known by touch that something had been done and feel it all the way down to the bath. Others point to the possible medicinal purposes of the mud (but to heal prenatal blindness?). What if the mud was to mark the man that a miracle had been performed again by Jesus on the Sabbath? What if it was a message to the Pharisees and had little to do with the event itself? The inquisition asked more than once "how was this again? Mud?". It was perplexing to them. Mud sticks to things. In mud things get stuck. If one is trying to get a perplexing puzzle stuck into a group of antagonist's brains why not stick it there with mud? The theory is interesting. As much as these men wanted to control the proceedings and rule out the miracle all together, their perplexity kept the inquiry in play, broadcasting to others that they were not all together sure what had taken place. It aggravated a division already occurring within their group and made to surface a policy they wanted to enforce that commoners insisting Jesus to be Christ would be excommunicated from the assembly. The mud is now on their face. How Jesus had healed has as little to do with the consideration of sin as when He did it or where He was from. The fact is that it hadn't been done to anyone's recollection ever before, that was the most urgent point. Some there came close to the matter, but apparently they lack the political strength and determination of the others. The faith of our Lord is in bringing the darkness to light, to make men to see the spiritual struggle happening daily all around them and the various intentions/motives being played out. Sometimes something as simple as mud can be used to remind one man who cannot see that his eyes are soon to open and at the same time reveal to a great many that certain so called seers are actually driven to blindness. That makes it an even more marvelous thing!
November22 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:9:35-41 FOR JUDGMENT I AM COME - Think back to kjv@Matthew:11:25 and Jesus saying that God has hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes. If something is hidden then there is no seeing it. What one does see is something other than what God has hidden. So why would God hide it to begin with? The answer is in to whom He does not hide it, where it is revealed. The earthly wise and prudent seek their own answers and therefore are never in position for revelation. The babe is in a constant receiving state filled with curiosity and immersed absorption. Imagine the man now blind from birth and the many visually deprived conclusions and perceptions made over these many years. Imagine what it is like for him now being able to see. Imagine his wonder and awe and the newness of all the things he thought till now that he knew. On the other hand let's imagine him trying to explain what he visually sees to his blind friends of the color red or of sky or of mother. What the Pharisees are missing is that what should be evident to them instead is hidden because they believe not in God's Holy Son Jesus Christ, they have their own answers, blind as those answers are to the reality of all spiritual matters surrounding them. God does not have to make them to be blind because they are blind by their own self limiting definition. Worse yet, blindness itself does not have to mean sin, it could simply mean not having been presented occasion with Jesus as of yet, but sin can be added to one's blindness once having occasion with Jesus to reject and despise Jesus outright. Judgment in this respect is automatic and immediate. The judgment is like stepping out of the flying plane without a parachute after being told the absolute consequences; if you are wise and prudent enough not to need Jesus then you are wise and prudent enough not to see impact with the ground. The faith of our Lord is that if we become willing to see Him in His true light as if we were mere babes that He will be able to show us the things that are otherwise hidden, as if our eyes are opened for the very first time. Note that Jesus is asking this man of this in a spiritual sense after He has opened his eyes in a physical sense and he has seen for himself the darker side of those who he thought were his spiritual guides.
November23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:10:1-21 BUT THE SHEEP DID NOT HEAR THEM - There are many revealing things spoken in this passage that might have gone unseen. First, for there to be a door to enter there has to be a wall or partition preventing entry elsewhere. What is this partition that would make there to be only one way in? God's will? His judgment? It says that there are those that would climb up it other ways, avoid the door, put themselves above His judgment, but it does not say that these others are making it. There are those entering in and that He is leading out called by name that know His voice. They will not follow a strangers voice and will not hear them. There is another fold that He mentions, however the two folds are make one; the same door, the same calling, the same recognition of voice. Note also that there is a porter at the door to open it. Even if one came to the gate the porter (Holy Ghost) would have to let one in. It is interesting that the old prophets (Isaiah Ezekiel etc) referred to the religious leadership of their day as shepherds. These prophetic references would mean something to the Pharisees. Jesus referred to His time as being shepherd-less. Something has happened between then and then removing the former corrupt shepherds. If these men now are the hirelings there is another to whom they are hired and to whom they are being scared off deserting their posts; "He" would be the one who comes to steal/kill destroy. "He (The Thief)" in context is likely to come in the form of the chief priests and/or the political structures who are not deserting yet, that desire Jesus dead. Note that there are the true sheep, the ones for whom the Shepherd gave His life and took it back again that know His voice and follow. The partition is of little consequence to them as it is, they freely follow where He leads. The faith of our Lord is knowledgeable of a very complex web of story lines strung together moving against Him with increasing energy. He remains certain however of what this means and what it will mean to His sheep fold. Are we aware and certain?
November25 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:1-16 BECAUSE HE SEETH THE LIGHT - The thing that is sure to catch the eye is the intensity of the miracle and the set up to it. There is something stated here that could slip by if not pointed out. The concern of the disciples is obvious and sincere. Without being there I believe it is hard/impossible for us to grasp just how dangerous getting to (and back from alive) this miracle will be. You and I would see the danger and we'd be able to come up with several self justifications dressed up in alternate but safer forms of ministry, a letter, an envoy, a bouquet, a tract, an evening of group prayer. If we were a messiah we could even issue the command to rise from far away. Jesus does not shy away from this. How does He know from all His options which course of action is the correct one? How does He favor the one when everyone else is convinced otherwise? How does He keep Himself from stumbling? Jesus inserts a quick illustration walking in the light of day; there being twelve hours. Though I don't claim to understand it with any certainty, at the same time I know that this insertion was not frivolous or placating. I believe that the answer He meant for us is in His answer here. So often we are faced with several immediate options only one of which we can actually take. We apply our wisdom to the discernment of which one to choose. As we process those decisions, by what light are we analyzing them by? Our Lord's decision is lit by the glory of the Father seeking to glorify the Son. Has that ever since changed? Lazarus's body was dead and decaying, his soul had not yet transitioned (nor would it this time) it was sleeping and unaware awaiting the Son to receive the Father's glory. Lazarus's condition is not a common condition of death for others, it is like being laid out on the ledge spiritually presented by the Father for the Savior to come and show Himself by. Who else's death can we say this of?. Jesus sees this presentation and knows that He must move that direction no matter what the supposed cost might be. IS this the type of presentation we should be looking for as well? If He is sent here to do the Father's work, here is where the Father's work is sending Him. We too must become more and more aware of the pathways appearing in front of us. We were created unto good works, works that He will direct us to should we be alert and not fear the assumed consequence. The faith of our Lord is that there is twelve hours in this symbolic spiritual day and that the work does not end until the lights are completely out. If the light shows another task to be done then what is to stop Him, HE SEETH THE LIGHT.
November27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:38-44 SAID I NOT THEE - How then did the glory of the Father show upon the Son? By performing a work that made people to believe that Jesus had been sent by God to do the works of God. If you think about the many people in the gospels that confessed their faith that Jesus was good teacher, a prophet, maybe a future king, could perform miracles, they are mostly indistinguishable. If you think about the number that confessed Jesus to be the Son sent from God three stand out, Peter, the Samaritan Woman and Martha. Of the three only Martha believed for something as immediate and tangible as Jesus raising her brother physically from death. Now some see Martha as doubting in the end, Jesus was not going to let that stop this. I rather feel Martha had realized the horror and embarrassment that when Jesus did raise her brother he would be decayed and soiled and putrid. In other words, I believe that for her it was not whether Jesus was going to do this, it was the state that she was going to see her brother in when He did. Remember that Jesus had done this miracle (she was likely to know this) previously to the young girl. Regardless of what her comment meant, Jesus was willing to take this miracle all the way for the sake of those that would finally believe for the very reason that they should believe. You will notice that Jesus will soon die for man, there will be nothing similar to this miracle that man can do for Jesus. In this instance though, even before His own resurrection by God the Father, through Him God the Father would raise Lazarus from physical death with the intent of showing HIS Son to believers in the proper and glorious light. The faith of our Lord is shown in the form of praise "I thank Thee that thou hast heard me" and in the form of the command "Lazarus Come Forth". It is also in the understanding of how this was to be and to whom/for whom it was performed. Who is to tell Lazarus of what has happened? How to tell him? He may have heard Jesus say the time He taught at his house; he may have believed Jesus that He is the "Resurrection and the Life". Well now he and his sisters truly know! Now to tell the wailers.
November28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:11:45-57 JESUS THEREFORE WALKED - It was no surprise to Jesus how the Sanhedrin/Pharisee coalition would react, it was part of the equation going in to the miracle. One only has to go back to the times of Moses before Pharaoh to see how miracles tend rather to harden the hearts of those it should have softened. It is as weighing in the one hand the tremendous weight of the many works and believers in the works of Jesus against the weight of what is self important in the other; the more weight added to the side of Jesus the more the scale tips towards self. Self is a communal property here, there is much investment into it by these individuals. It is no less true in our day. What we call freedom of will is clearly very territorial and pack like. Measure again the imbalance between the one sent doing the works of God and the several who find it expedient for all that the one man be put to death. It is the same measurement we face today. Why should the works of God be put to death (in our case explained away)? Because they threaten the so called works of man. They see it as a work to keep their place and their nation. Their place is as spiritual and moral leaders of a pitiful run down thoroughly dominated depraved frontier outpost of Rome, a vague resemblance in name only to the nation that by God they once possessed. That is the work that they put above God's? What is our's? So what does it take, we must ask, for them / for us to see matters on the ground as they truly are? The results and consequences of our possessiveness and self (pack like) justifications? How the works of God are sternly pushed aside as if to the wildernesses? These men gather to purify themselves and at the same time they issue a state wide edict for His capture. The feast is being prepared for. The faith of our Lord knows more of what it is up against ahead of time than we tend to know even after the fact because it knows the heart of man; all men; the real state. He will spend this time now with His disciples preparing them and their faith for the similar battles they will one day face themselves. He will walk no more openly amongst these hardened.
November29 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:12:1-11 AGAINST THE DAY OF MY BURYING - It is ironic that Jesus in large part is being sentenced to death for raising a man from the dead. Name me another such case. Now the reasoning behind the sentence will quickly evolve into more, but at this point the fear is that Jesus is now performing things that have serious internal and external consequence. Lazarus is also marked out (sentenced to death for once being dead). There are many aware of Jesus' whereabouts. They are commanded to report it to the leaders, not many did. They could be held as duplicitous cooperatives (knowing that the dead man raised and the man who raised him were meeting). You can see just how ridiculous the leadership has gotten. Then there is Mary, Martha's sister. We have already spoke of Martha's uncommon faith; it appears that it has rubbed off on to Mary. Mary and Martha had kind of gone back and forth with the lead of obtaining the fullest measure of faith, Mary having been the un-distracted pupil first and Martha recently having accepted the Lord's omnipotence first. Mary now comes forth with nearly a years worth of common wages to pour over her Lord's head, intuitively realizing that He is about to die for mankind's sins. The men folk are not this far along yet as some are swayed (or confused) by Judas' reasoning. They do not yet know Judas as the Lord knows him, nor do they know the road that has been leading him to betrayal. Judas will betray Jesus. He'll be the one to tell Sadducee where Jesus will be at. We suspect that it will also be about the money, but the money may just be the gateway drug to something much more determined. Judas trips up here and crosses Jesus and nearly brings the other men crosswise along with him. Surely he knows that. There is more than just ointment that has been stored up that is about to be broken open and spilled out. There was a prophecy given to the young mother Mary that the Christ child she bore would one day cause her great pain because that He would reveal the hearts of many. See then the hearts revealed. Feel her pain amongst otherwise anticipation and excitement. The day now is soon coming and is already. How much more do you need to see to be convinced? Not enough revelation yet? The faith of our Lord is that none of this trouble is by accident, it is raised by His presence. A son cannot do any of the works of his father in this darkening light without the whole world coming to pieces. And why this? Because of the hearts of man. A hundred billion hearts all with such busyness to do. How crucial this quiet personal moment of sincere personal homage by a long haired woman of such great compound yet simple faith. A moment saved up for against the day of His burying!
December5 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:13:31-38 A NEW COMMANDMENT - You will remember the two great commandments "love the Lord your God with all your heart/soul/mind/strength" and "Love your neighbor as yourself"? You have also heard "love your enemy"? The new commandment puts a much more practical face on all of this, to "love one another as I (Jesus) has loved you". How has Jesus loved us? While many would rightly to lay down one's life, consider this, Jesus Himself has not at the point of saying this done has not yet done that and we are not all likely to be put into that situation and Peter here is offering that very thing. While the giving of one's own life in the right situation (for the right glory) can be the greatest form of love, there must also be something much more daily and practical. The key may be in verse 31-32; the direction towards which the glory is given by Jesus. Jesus' love for us was directed toward the glorification of His Father. He did not seek His own glory; love does not seek it's own glory. Neither did Jesus glorify the people that He showed love, but pointed them to the glory of the Father. In His presence His love covered a multitude of transgressions and yet made it clear that this was not the behavior of the world to come, that the only way out from this death sentence was the answer that the Father had sent. He never criticized or convicted individuals, only the groups of religious hypocrites that held the people down. He concerned Himself with the spirit of the law rather than the letter. All this and more done for no better reason than to glorify the Father who sent Him. Compare this to the sacrifice of two opposing soldiers giving their life for country, you can see how Jesus rightly could have died and risen for the sins of both and how that His commanded form of love exceeds even this so great a human form of love. How does that apply to our love for others? There is much that has been modeled for us that all boils down to the Father's glory. Peter was ready to lay down His life for his master, true/loyal/much to the point we thought Jesus might be teaching through this passage. Despite the best of Peter's intentions, it is a love pointed toward his own glory. If the command was to love the others as Jesus loved them, how then would this self sacrifice on behalf of Jesus have servered the others? Would it not step all over Jesus' time of glorification? Peter will one day follow where Jesus now goes, but it will be in a time and manner that better illustrates a love for the others such as Jesus has shown to all believers. In it's time Peter's sacrifice will greatly serve us and glorify Father and Son and Spirit. Until his time of ultimate sacrifice (or the possibility of our's) there will be much learning on Peters part (and our's) to know the true meaning of this new command. God will be glorified in Jesus and Jesus will be glorified in HIM straightway and then by all. The faith of our Lord is that He one day will be known as our Lord by this very same type of discipled love one to another. It is a love for others that seeks to glorify none but the Holy Trinity. To love God with all heart/soul/mind/strength and others as self by loving as Jesus has loved us.
December6 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:1-4 BELIEVE ALSO IN ME - We (most of us) believe in God. Okay! What is it about HIM that we actually believe that was not revealed about HIM by Jesus? Let's remove the revelations of God by Jesus for a moment. We could say that God created all things. True, but why did HE create all things? We could say God loves us. True, but what does love mean? We could say that everything works according to HIS plan. True, but what then is HIS plan? You see without the revelations of Jesus we know very little about God and what we do know is largely vague and uncommitted. If the commandment is to love God with all our heart/soul/mind/strength then actually there is very little about our God (minus the revelations of Jesus) for us to sink our teeth into. Perhaps that is just the way that we want it; that we we can all have our private piece of God to imagine and not have to come to definite terms of who actually HE is and who we are in relation to that truth. Jesus here says "you believe in God", excellent, but then adds "believe also in me". Why would He add that? Because He gives a depth to our belief that goes beyond a casual non-descript acquaintance or preconception. Because of Jesus we know not only that God created, we know why, we know how, we know through whom. Because of Jesus we not only know that HE loves us, we know how His love is shown, we begin to tangibly see it's size and shape and consistency and righteous backbone; it is no longer nebulous. Because of Jesus we not only know that God exists, we know HIS will and HIS objectives, we know what HE has spent so much time setting up and developing for our redemption to occur. It was said "no one knows the Father except the Son" and "no one knows the Son except those the Father has revealed Him to". Well the Father has revealed Jesus to these men by a great many signs and wonders and life transforming experiences. Now He faces His greatest wonder/revelation of all, dying for sins of all mankind, giving His life and taking it back. These men are troubled over it and also over their futures without Him. They will not be without Him though He assures them. He goes ahead of them to prepare them a place in His Fathers house; a house of many mansions. If He goes there, He will come again to receive them. The faith of our Lord is always displayed so that others might have the hope of Him even in the times of the unknown and uncertain. It is displayed like lamp to guide their feet, like a rope to tow them through their tribulations, like a float to hold them from sinking. It is not just the warm fuzzy nebulous sensed by all, it is the certain familiarity with a eternal Godhead that is reaching out to make itself know to all the creation that will listen. Step one - believe also in Jesus!
December7 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:5-14 HE THAT BELIEVE ON ME - This passage ties together two concepts of great similarity and importance, what we believe in Jesus and what we know Jesus to be. As you see the disciples are still yet struggling with the knowing Jesus in the Father and the Father in Jesus, more so than say Martha, Mary or the bind man. All of this time with Him yet the way, the truth and the life are still unknown to them; the ones His future ministry truly relies. Then comes the believing Jesus even to the point where they will be able to do works similar to Jesus. It seems odd that today we take this to mean just miracles, the disciples had already performed miracles and been quite successful at it without fully believing. Works do not have to equal miracles, in fact works could tie back to the previous passage of loving one another in ways that totally glorify the Father. Greater works than these could tie into the numbers of "loving one anothers" and their depth considering that the human heart was unable to do this ahead of Jesus' work upon it. Let me ask you this, is the greater proof of Father in Son and Son in Father that we can make the sun return six hours back to it's noon position or that millions of hearts that were once at complete and inescapable enmity with God irreversibly set in the clutches of sin and death have been made to believe on the name of Jesus to salvation and gratefully spread His word to the four corners of earth to the glory of God? If we first set our eyes and feet upon doing this the greatest of works then we would know in those times when for the sake of those others nothing remaining will do but the miraculous that certainly Jesus would do anything asked in His name to glorify the Father, that it would be done. We tend to read through this passage in a frame of mind similar to the disbelieving disciples. Where is HE? Show us to HIM? Prove it? Jesus is instead saying I've shown you all along, it is all here and now, it is taking place, you've seen Me so you've seen HIM, know and believe it, go therefore, do what I have commanded you. The faith of our Lord is quite literally for the full fledged believing and the knowing of man. How far the heart must go from where it was to where He needs it to be to start. Some it may take three years down the same road seeing the same things, being gifted the same spiritual gifts, before they come to the place of starting to pull these things together into one whole. Others it takes thirty years. For some four painful days. Either way that is the journey the heart must take from here to there to the start. Believing and knowing and then works (obedience's) greater than these, that is His faith in us.
December8 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:14:15-31 KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS - A conditional statement "If you love Me" is used to present an actionable practice "keep My commandments". The action that is being pointed to is illustrated in the Greek word Tereo #G5083 guarding as to prevent loss. It is a picture of a military fortress. It appears as if the commandments could be taken or lost or surrendered. It reminds me of the parable of the sower where birds of the air swooped down to snatch the word, where some seed fried up in the sun not having root in itself. Surely the command does have to be obeyed and acted upon (kept in another sense), but before even that can be done the protected meaning (the meaning Jesus has for us) has to be understood by being kept (in the primary sense) from the influences of self, life and world; thus the picture of a fortress. The meaning is detained, it is secluded, it is watched over. In order to do this one must first be aware that there are plenty of influences the change or corrupt or steal away the meaning; external and internal. "Love thy neighbor as yourself" can change to mean calling evil good and good evil. "Love one another as I have loved you" can come to mean what ever odd notion of self love you feel comfortable exhibiting. From whatever that understanding then becomes so then follows any form of obedience to it we care to offer. This is how we can come to the point where every single one of us believes that they have loved their neighbor as themselves without one ounce of the love of Jesus Christ being shed. What fools are we? In order to fortress the true meaning the true meaning must first be sought out and received. For that we have the Holy Spirit who will teach us and put all things into our remembrance. We cannot have the Holy Spirit unless Jesus has died for our sins and is risen back to the Father. Even today, this simple point of faith eliminates many a nominal Christian from receiving the true meaning as revealed/reminded. Their actions, though well intentioned, are not drawn out from the sacred fortress, they are drawn from the meaning altered or lost. The need is definitely for the revelation of the Holy Spirit, but also for the "keeping" of the revealed meaning and the obedient action upon the revealed meaning. For this we also need the strength of resolve. Why all of this? This is what it means to "love" Jesus. He/she that loves our Savior to this extent and in this manner the Father will love, the Lord will love, the two by the Holy Spirit will come and make THEIR abode with him/her. What peace this will leave with us. The faith of our Lord is in abiding with man. The way for Him to abide with us is as much in the true meaning upon which we base our obedient actions as it is in the concept that we even know to love Him at all. He will take care of His part in this and so then must we.
December10 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjvJohn:15:18-16:4 BECAUSE I WAS WITH YOU - Notice that when the Holy Spirit comes He does not come to keep any of these things from happening. They happen, they continue to happen, they increase there is not an end of their happening at least till Christ returns. What does that say about the plan? The plan is to hunker down and absorb the fight that will be leveled by the world against Christ and His followers. And if that is the plan what does that say about the His love by which we are to love others? This passage does not say that eventually everyone will realize that the love of this world equates to hatred for God and turn from their ways, instead it says that what they do they will think that they are doing for God. It doesn't say that there will for a time be enough of a majority to hold the persecution off. It says that because He has called us out from this world and we are not of this world that the world hates us. It says because they persecuted the master they "will" persecute the servants. Why then do they today not hate the Christians in the United States? Is it that we are so Christ like? Could it be because we do not bear witness to the true image of Christ? Because they have not seen His works in us and are not called out from behind their cloak's? Earlier in the passage we were exhorted to abide in Him, to him who abides in the commandment the Father and Son will abide with him. Has this been done? Earlier in the passage we were exhorted to "keep" (fortress) the true meanings of His commandments from the influences of self and world. Have we done that? We are called to love one another as He has loved us. Have we done that? You see how the evidences stack up against us! I think the faith of our Lord is very evident here, that this is not the end of the process, this is the beginning. Added to His faith that the plan is right and that these disciples will be ultimately fruitful in it, it is a testament to the amount of effort/resource that He is investing into this long hard fought process to make it work. This is an important time for these men now to know this as without His physical presence they soon have to recall and depend solely on these words and the Spirit in the years to come as will we.
December11 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:16:5-16 HE SHALL RECEIVE OF MINE - We have been negligent in speaking of the Holy Spirit as He is so much the faith of our Lord. What Jesus has performed here is certainly monumental, in every sense beyond human/angelic comparison. What Jesus has done is to bring to this world new life and to set it into motion. What the Spirit is about to do is every bit as much monumental as He is taking everything Jesus has done, setting it into our hearts, spread it, help us to live it. New life is life indwelt by the Spirit, we need the Spirit like we do living water; there is no spiritual life without. His mission is to glorify Jesus, to take what is now Jesus' (the glory that the Father has given Him) and shew it to us. Shortly in these chapters Jesus will be raised to the right hand throne of the Father with the keys to life and death and release from the chains of sin in His hands. The ministry of reproof is one of many things He does ahead of indwelling us. It is a ministry because it is much needed and ultimately very loving. Now that Jesus is proven to be where He is at, sin in it's entirety has become not believing in Jesus Christ, the seal of righteousness is that Jesus was raised, judgment is that the prince of this world is judged. These things Jesus now has. These things the Spirit shows to us for us see the light of and turn from our ways. What a monumental task just in this alone. Once inside the Spirit will guide us in all truth. Just as Jesus, the pattern well developed, He will not speak of Himself but repeat what He hears divinely spoken. He is also called the Comforter, a title perhaps relating back to the previous section describing the hatred and persecution believers will be subjected to. It is obvious that as complete and triumphant as our Lord's work is needed along with that is the effort of the Holy Spirit to really put that in the clearest light and to make full use of it. Man left to his own though filled with every good intention would only take this as far as what would serve him and shortly it would all die off. The faith of our Lord, though in man, is in man because of abilities He knows of the Holy Spirit. The right for the Holy Spirit to do these things will be bought and paid for by the blood and ascension, but it is crucial living work just the same; eternal in scope and daily in nature.
December13 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:17:1-5 GLORIFY - Some important facts about Jesus. One, He had a glory with the Father before coming to the flesh. Two, He has glorified the Father here on earth. Three, now that the work is finished He expects that the Father will return Him to His glory. Why is this all important? Because it glorifies the Father. There are other possible directions that this glorification could have come. The Father could have glorified HIMSELF. Deserved no doubt, but not the best way considering no one on earth knows HIM or even cares. The Father could have waited for man to glorify HIM. Deserved, but again not likely and quite corrupted, hollow and imaginary. The Father could have done great big miraculous things to draw the praise of man in, well HE had done that for millennium and couldn't keep man's belief or attention for more than a few ticks (telling us not so much about HIS glory, but our deprived nature). Jesus seeking His rightful glory could have gone about this differently as well. The whole thing is that both relied on each other to glorify the other; I glorify you and you glorify me, which is the way all things are meant to be. How did Jesus glorify the Father? He made the Father known, HIS truth, HIS righteousness, HIS will, HIS plan, HIS judgment, HIS mercy and a tangible/visible portion of HIS supreme power. He glorified HIM by not speaking or doing of His own, but obeying as He saw and heard; obeying even to the cross. How does the Father glorify the Jesus? The Resurrection and Ascension and Pentecost; no other messianic figure can lay claim to. The Holy Spirit which testifies of Him in similar obedient confirmation and subjection. The millions (if not billions) of believers that the Father has now drawn (made the Son known to). The returning of Jesus to the Glory He once had plus the addition of giving Him power over all flesh and His enemies at His footstool. We as believers can attest to Jesus selflessly glorifying the Father, the Father glorifying Jesus the Son; their glory is not just an empty theological word, we see it now with profound substance. The portion He has received from the Father now He is willing to divide with His faithful strong. We too have been called to glory and virtue and we see in Jesus and the Holy Spirit the perfect example of how glory is to be done. The faith of our Lord is that glory does not come from oneself, even when it is deserved as in THEIR case. Glorification is not hollow praise from the lips, it is full to over flowing with the commitment and diligence of continuing the obedient path; only then are the words not hollow or self serving. Jesus is the example of one glorifying another. His commandment? To love one another as He has loved us! Glorify HIM/Him by faithfully keeping this commandment with the meaning intended.
December14 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:17:6-19 THEM WHICH THOU HAST GIVEN - I am overwhelmed this morning with the sense that I have long misinterpreted this prayer of Jesus. The consequences to my theology will have to be sorted out, but I have the feeling that this prayer is meant for the eleven men there directly (us only indirectly). There are more than eleven disciples within miles of Him tonight, they are not mentioned. There are many that have followed and even hosted Him these three+ years, they are not mentioned. There are many that will believe on Jesus because of these men, they are mentioned later on but not yet. The fact is that these eleven are the humans that He has invested everything into. They are certainly spiritually weak and frail at this point despite their blessed experiences and discipleship so far, but their meekness is exactly what He is looking for. He refers to them as the "given". He refers to us as "those that will believe because of them". I have a feeling the He refers to His other many devoted followers in the region as the nucleolus of "those" or us. What about Martha then? What about Mary and Lazarus and the blind man? What about Nicodemus and the others this night being shunned by the Sanhedrin? Evidence now suggests that there is a mission much bigger than our personal beliefs and sacrifices that our Lord needs these eleven hand selected men to proceed with. A mission or calling that the remainder of us are barely spectators/receivers of. Jesus begins by praying not for the world, but for these eleven men for they are "THINE"; He is glorified in "them". He prays that they be one, that they have His joy fulfilled in themselves, that they be sanctified through HIS truth/word, that they be kept from evil. He prays this because they are not of this world, they are hated, they are sent by Him into this world. Now these words could certainly be applied to us as we are often in similar (lesser) situations. The spiritual warfare that would surround these eleven men would be perhaps beyond compare. It is because of them however, their being given, their meekness and their being used of the Spirit to the extent that they were that we even have opportunity to follow their steps. We call these men today Apostles; the pillars of our faith. This is who this prayer is for directly. Men like this Apostle John. If not for them we would not know that this prayer was even made. The faith of our Lord barely needs to be said here. It is a tremendous thing to consider that all of this is bestowed upon them for our benefit and for those that will follow after us. The mission spreads out and takes us in and we pass it on to the next each in our smaller ways. Our thanks to "those which THOU hast given". Our praise to HIM who meant this to the continuation of our Lord's ministry after His heavenly glorification.
December16 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:1-11 WHOM SEEK YE - The impression I take from this passage is that Father is in control of everything and Jesus is giving Himself to the Father. The officers and guards marching on the way over surely had rehearsed the situation over in their minds as they approached and were fully aware of who it was that they were coming to get. Others had been sent on the same mission other times and had come back empty handed. The pressure was on them this time. They may have been under orders to assume control of the situation, that they fell back may have been part of that plan (or not), but there was little control for them to be had. Judas may have thought that he was in control, but when the guard fell back exposing him powerless and later when the swords were drawn exposing him to danger and even later when the purse was tossed, control was found furthest from Judas' hands. The Sanhedrin thought themselves to be in control on many occasion and ended up being shown as the fool. This could easily play against them or even explode and cause the very same public rioting they most feared against. If there is any control or settling in their hands it comes directly from their understanding of prophecy oddly enough and Jesus' own words which ties us back into the Fathers control. Out walks Jesus like the shepherd before the pack of wolves, coming between the ravenous and His fold. He asks them twice who they have come after, making certain the release of the others (except for a momentary diversion from a mis-intentioned Peter). Had anyone other than the Father been in control this event would have gone much differently. So we must ask, why is it important that the Father be in full control of this? Couldn't this have played out more dynamically? kjv@Isaiah:53:10 may be our best source for an answer stating that it "pleased the LORD to bruise Him, having put Him to grief" and again "make His soul an offering for sin" and again "see His seed and prolong His days". The "arm of the LORD" is being revealed in this and the events to come. It won't be because of the success of any certain group or person or principality. These actors will play the part that they are given, they will be used as tools and Jesus will be shown as giving Himself freely and completely as sent and directed to perform the Father's ultimate long awaited for mercy. People today see the Father of the Old Testament as harsh and temperamental despite every evidence to the contrary. They point to specific instances like Abraham and Issac with horror not realizing that it was not Abraham that suffered this sacrifice it was HIM the Father. The faith of our Lord presents the Father in a whole new light, that HE is willing to do this for us and for HIS own good name, that HE loves us to this extent and price, that for all that we've mistaken and corrupted HE is still wanting to work it all out, HE will use all of HIS power and ability to make this what it best needs to be. Not only all of this, but that it was HIS plan all along. Maybe today you are part of that guard that is marching lock step to seize our Jesus away. Maybe you are the one who is turning Him/us in. Maybe you are in the elite thinking that you are doing God's work by ordering this to be done. Maybe you are just a simple fisherman at the ready with knife and sword. Regardless, you think that you are coming at this under control. Three words Jesus will have for you... "Whom seek ye?". Think about it!
December19 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:19-24 WHY ASKETH THOU - How do a few powerful elite (but not powerful enough to do this deed on their own) sway the perception and support of enough others to get this job done? Think of those others as the jury. The prosecution's effort here is intended to grab the focus of the jury away from anything Jesus might be defending Himself by. The officer appears offended by the defendant's answer with the purpose of setting a definite tone of authority and gamesmanship by the defendant for the room fully in mind. Whether he was told to do this or whether he just felt it necessary we do not know; I believe it though to be staged. The high priest is seeking to set a similar tone releasing into the room air the scent that Jesus is being secretive for the blood hounds to sniff without having to prove it. Irregardless of any answer, the jury (many of the same) is left with the sense of Jesus disrespectfully toying with authority and that authority knows something that Jesus would rather hold back. It is all an act, but very effective in increments. One does not break the will at first, but bends it. Knowing that this ploy is in place our Lord's comments are as they should be, essentially "what is your intention in asking me that". Jesus is not going to defend Himself here. He has already proved Himself on a much bigger stage. His silence instead will be proof against intents and methods of His accusers. The trial is much the same in our age. His accusers are setting the stage for the jury by filling the air with nebulous scents; no need for proofs (less effective). The scent of holding something threatening back, the ora of descent and rebelion, the air of war mongering and brainwashing and alterior motive, the tinge of stirring crowds into fanaticism, all thrown out not to be answered (how could we) but to set the tone and put the adherent on the defensive. Where then is the Lord's defense? Is it really in us becoming more vocal and defensive? Or is it in us keeping true to what He has been teaching and commanding all along? Is not our love and fruitfulness in the knowledge of Him His best defense? The faith of our Lord is in the work that He has already been doing, it is in knowing from this initial work what in the future will be done. His faith is not in the trial or the defense or the court of corruptible opinion, it is in the righteousness of His Father. So must ours! Not everyone else is an accuser, they may simply be the jury. They should be aware of the tactic just the same.
December21 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:18:28-40 TO THIS END - Apparently when you are breaking your own law by having a trial at night and coming to a judgment of condemnation in the same day it is important that you not break your own traditions of not dirtying your hands by going into a Gentile's house; it makes it all better. Apparently if you yourself do not have legal power to perform capital punishment it is okay to take him to someone that does; it is all right. John doesn't go into the false evidence and witness that the Sanhedrin itself trumped up, but apparently it too is okay as long as you don't sully your hands and your image by expressing concern over not missing the closing hours of the paschal festival. Aren't you glad that they thought this all through and got it to where they could murder God's Son without breaking their ceremonial traditions? Why should Pilate entertain this motion? Because they wouldn't have brought him had He not been what they said he was; you can take their word on that. Oh so Pilate doesn't find anything wrong with the man, but it is okay to offer him in a trade for a seditious robber? Did that come out of left field or what? Is it article ?#$& that says that it is lawful to trade an innocent man for a convict tried by Roman law if the Jews insist? What business does Rome have with a man who won't tell you directly that he is a king, with no army, with no intent of removing anyone from their throne, who has gone out of his way on several occasions not to present himself to the public as someone who would? Some would say that Pilate felt for Jesus but cowarded to the pressure of the Jews. WHat? Pilate (who has been tyrannical and utterly vicious to the Jews as recently as a few months ago on the temple stairs) and the Sanhedrin suddenly being buddy buddy should alert us to something politically motivated happening here in a big way. They are both trying to present themselves to the public (and to history) as having clean hands. Don't riot against me Jerusalem for well I pretended not to want to be involved in this when most vehemently I did. Don't riot against us thousands of followers because we did not kill Jesus, Jesus killed Himself by what He said to Pilate. This is why all the detail is given to public perception. Little did they know that it was going to be written about. A few weeks and all this messiness would be done with, so they thought. It was written in a time span where if the written testimony that we have was false that the many witnesses could have fought back, we would have historical evidence that these misrepresentations had been vigorously disputed.Truth is that Rome didn't think much of this little incident until it had stirred the people so that they had to destroy the Temple, burn the records and ransack the city a few decades latter. What we do have is our Apostles talking about it quite openly to the public in a tone that everyone else knew about it and accepted it; many were convicted by it. The words here of Jesus then take on deeper meaning when He says that He came into this world to "bare witness unto the truth" and everyone that is "of the truth" heareth His voice. Truth is not the perception portrayed of washing ones hands of the matter, nor is it of making it back to the festival in time, truth is why it is you feel the need to trip all over yourself and the law on the way to portraying yourself as innocent of a most guilty matter.Truth is proving man his nature so that then you can show them God's. The faith of our Lord remember is that this is all in the Father's hands. No it is not right what they are doing, but what else could be expected. How does this ever change unless the Son of God suffers this wrong and takes it in His flesh to the grave along with every other wrong so that He might raise up a people free of it's corruption. Born into to bare wittness, to this end completed.
December23 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:17-27 THIS TITLE - A epitaph may not say as much about a man as it does about the meaning others held about him. Pilates' title for Jesus is mounted atop the cross for all to see, no doubt there could have been a thousand more titles that could have been nailed there as well. What title would you put on His cross to some up His meaning to you? Would it be "fable or myth"? Would it be "fool for believing as He did"? Would it be "good guy...wish He could have hung out a little longer"? Would it be "old dude back then.. not relevant today"? Would it be my Savior" (not fully knowing what all that meant)? The crowd on this day had their own private ideas about what the life and now death of Jesus was going to mean. Think of those near to His mother Mary. Think of the Sanhedrin. Think of the guards. Think of the casual observer. All had their own idea, some personal and emotional, some separate and detached, some involved with the clean up, few realistic, none searching nor understanding of the meaning to His Father God (after all this is HIS sacrifice). What tile would His Heavenly Father put on that cross? As promised? I told you? Beloved in whom I am well pleased? After all that I have done you still do not know me? How about "MY SON"? Could it be that the meaning we give this matter is only of secondary importance to the significance the Father places on it? Could it be that for all that we know we really know nothing at all? When you read this gospel did you really think that it was all about whatever meaning you wanted to give it or did you think of the meaning God wanted you to give it? Pilates' meaning, a slap in the face to get over on the Jews, a means of re-establishing his own power, based on nothing that Jesus told him. How about yours? The Jews' meaning, an accusation of a man foolishly claiming to be something that he is not, a man despite his miraculous abilities is an imposter to the legalistic faith they would rather hold to. How about yours? To His mother, a sharp pain in the chest, a stream of tears that is unending, a period of time and hope and physical separation now suddenly/forcibly ending. To the disciple whom He loved, a shock though prepared for never fully anticipated, a yet intellectual realm of spiritual possibilities, a new set of of obligation and responsibility. It could be that the title hung over a man publically (like in this case) has nothing to do with your perception, but you lack the power publically to do anything about it. What then about yours? What title, what meaning would you give this solemn occasion? Is it closer to these peoples meaning, closer to the principalities meaning or is it closer to His Fathers? One title comes to mind; Lord/King. Even it too comes with a multitude of selfishly saturated individual/public interpretations. The faith of our Lord is that somehow, someway, some time by the power of word and His Spirit that you will be drawn into the deeper meaning/the more rightful title. It is the richer fuller faith closer to the meaning that His Father has placed on Him. It is this meaning that reveals the Father's heart and intentions like no other. It is the banner we then must carry forward as a church into the fields of public perception.
December24 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:19:28-37 HE THAT SAW IT BARE RECORD - Jesus is verifiably dead. If there were any suspicion they would have broken His legs. Why? So that He wouldn't have been able to lift Himself up to breath. If any other doubt remains it should be quenched by the intrusion of a spear through His intercostals into His heart. Whatever life force that could have remained came flooding out to the ground below as well as any other bodily fluids. It is important to us to know the finality of this moment. There is not anything anyone on the scene could have done to take this all back; no sudden pardon from Caesar or maybe if we just prayed hard enough. It is out of mortal hands. We have the actions of all involved and the testimony of John as eye witness. We have any of a number of people that could have said no John you've got it all wrong. Tradition has it that John was boiled in oil later in an attempt to get a confession out of him. Is there anything else that you would like to try to rationalize to make this event something different? Can you look back on this through the scriptures and find anything that was left out? Well there is the mention of some eternal kingdom and rule. When does that come into play? When there is a kingdom of like minded followers for Him to rule over. Why isn't there a kingdom of like minded followers yet? Because the Father hasn't glorified Him quite yet. Look through the scriptures. Tell me what other prophecy is about to be fulfilled? How can it be fulfilled, He is dead? He is dead isn't He? How do the dead come back to life? Why would they? What would it prove if they did? Any man could believe himself sent by God. Any man could believe himself to be a sacrifice for the obvious sins of mankind and even carry it through. No man could himself fulfill an impossible string of prophecies most outside of His control up to and including His death and resurrection except it be performed by someone other than he with the power to do it. When Jesus said that this other mysterious person cannot be known except by Him and who He reveals HIM to, how is it that He intended to reveal it? The faith of our Lord is that the very thing we are forced by His death and resurrection to consider is the very revelation of our Heavenly Father. This is HIS righteousness, HIS mercy, HIS eternal plan; this is HIS DOING. Why then would HE put in the hands of a few men's to testify of it? HE didn't. HE also put it in yours to bare record of!
December26 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:1-9 AS YET THEY KNEW NOT - It is interesting to see the state of things as Jesus has left them. Remember, these are the very people Jesus has left the future ministry with. They seem totally unprepared; do they not? First of all, Mary doesn't seem willing to trust what she saw and had been told along the way to Peter and John; she appears to withhold information that we know from the other gospels leaving it all to their own inquiries instead. Second John, one of the two speed racers, willing admits that as much as Jesus talked about it neither man yet knew the Old Testament scriptures relating to the necessary resurrection. We can interpret this a couple different ways, either the men were just coming up short (a blinding of human pride say) or the information was being externally withheld (a purposeful blinding of sorts by the Spirit or such). The first option seems most likely, the second most intriguing. It may be that the initial apostolic contemplation of resurrection to His glory must come at the time after the crushing reality of the loss and finality of His death as a human is most deeply absorbed, when the guilt and shame of our own roles in this have been fully tasted. It is like tasting the bitters before the sweet. Think of the many believers today who grab on to the resurrection gospel without first grasping the ripping pain of His sacrifice. Do they really know the one without knowing first the other? Think of the many believers today that grab on to the pain and sacrifice without then grasping the glorification through resurrection gospel. Both halves are equally important, but there seems a proper order intended especially for these particular disciples who have been called to be the Apostles. Certainly there is a blinding of pride or doubt or such that each of us inflict upon ourselves. Certainly there is a blindness of newness and unfamiliarity with things spiritual, the thoughts of God not being ours and such. Why wouldn't it also be certain that there is an order and process (time released revelation) God is employing to reveal these things to those chosen to testify to and continue the earthly work of Jesus. Add now that Jesus knew and left the keys to His kingdom to this; meaning that the things that we are witnessing from these men and women are crucial first steps, a sign of the gradual unveiling, the crack of dawn growing brighter. What they have learned before this is set aside for an awakening. What they have learned before will by the Spirit be reintroduced into their remembrance. Now however is the rustling ahead of a new birth. The faith of our Lord is that we will know not by our own understanding, but we will know by His revelation. These men and women will be the first to know. They will begin to know when the Spirit is soon received. Already though they are sensing the motions of the heavenly fluttering near and surrounding them.
December27 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:10-18 MARY - What does it take to draw the purest faith out of a person? The answer may be different in every person's case. Do you see how differently the revelation of the resurrection is coming to different people.Mary hears her name called by a familiar voice and immediately she wants to touch but lo it is forbidden. Thomas hears and sees the sight but refuses to believe unless he can touch; he is allowed. Women go down and come back having the good news, travelers discuss the news with a stranger and the stranger while eating with them reveals Himself to be Jesus, yet Peter and John and others still sort through the mounting evidence but must themselves wait longer to see for themselves. Why so many approaches? Why not one big here I am revelation? My guess is that it is important to the drawing out of each person's faith.Some believe and so want to touch, but what must be drawn out is the part of that faith that has holy reverence. Others refuse to believe until they touch and suddenly reverence isn't the same immediate issue, the draw is toward that initial acceptance. Others (key individuals in this case) so want to see what the others are reporting, but must wait, drawing on that patience and a cool head. What would be most important in your faith to be drawn out at first glimpse? Perhaps by the appearance of Angels? Perhaps by the weary evening concluded by the eating together of bread and fish? Perhaps by a barrage of separate but similar eye witness reports (somewhat of an embarrassment of other's riches)? What is most needed drawn from you to start your faith off on the best foot? What is needed by the Lord to produce the faith and the irrefutable and glorious testimony He needs to ignite the new ministry of His gospel of complete salvation? I'd like to think that the events here are being properly timed and staged, that there is perfection and purpose to the righteous performance as it is being revealed. After all this is a once in an eternity event that intends to bare the entire weight of redemption.The faith of our Lord is in this exact moment and the reaction of His followers in it. He believes in this moment for their sake. He believes in this moment for our sake. This for Him is an exciting moment. This revelation moment may come in different ways to each one of us, but with purpose; the purpose of drawing out what is most needed in our faith.He said that His sheep would know His voice. His first whisper was Him perceived as a gardener to a deeply mournful and bravely seeking believer named Mary. How about yours?
December28 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:20:19-23 SO I SEND YOU - There will be a discernible difference between the disciples up to now and after receiving the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit job to set us apart from all of the many human deficiencies that spiritually beset us. And the Spirit comes upon their belief of the death and resurrection of the Son of God sent to accomplish the Father's will and provide for the complete remission of sins. One of the most substantial differences will be in their forgiveness towards others. By the same measure God judges us (our belief in Jesus the Lord/Christ) we judge others. By the same measure God forgives us our sins (completely in Jesus Christ) we forgive others who have sinned against us. I cannot rightly forgive one who sins against another in the others place, but I can show both parties the necessity and way to come to that ends in Christ. Neither can I rightly stand in for God other than to avail the terms and counsel on behalf of such agreement, but I can/must for that which is done against me. Should I not forgive any that has sinned against me, I will find that neither has the Father in heaven for I have failed to understand and except the forgiveness the Father has offered me in Jesus; my sin of un-forgiveness will be retained. Should I not help others to come to this level of forgiveness between themselves, I have acted with a similar un-forgiveness by not understanding and accepting the forgiveness of the Father as well; even by such inaction.The Spirit is now here to guide us, to comfort us, and yes if necessary convict us of the sin that we still hold against our Father's judgment/mercy. If forgiveness of this type was the sole accomplishment of the Spirit in us it would be substantial and revolutionary. Can you imagine all the sins just among all of us being remitted? Such forgiveness does not come easily or by our resources however, that is where our problem yet remains. Only by the Holy Spirit which comes by belief in the full work of Jesus Christ, breathed into us as it were by Christ Himself does this impossibility become possible.The faith of our Lord past has now earned the right of our most serious consideration.These things now have been proven and righteously extended to us. We must now take hold of His faith and move it forward into our lives and make it known into the lives of all others.It is by no mistake that along with the gift of His Spirit that the first thing He mentions is the remittance and or retention of sins by us of others.
December30 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:21:1-14 AND YE SHALL FIND - There are just certain moments in a life time that guys will always and fondly remember. That moment away from it all with your buddies doing what you want to do, no pressures, everything in the universe suddenly just clicks. It is usually times like a fishing or hunting trip, a dusk or a dawn, concluding around a fire, a simple meal of the day's catch.You can remember Peter out of nowhere, totally unexpected jumping of the boat almost as to John's beckoning swimming to shore; oh how we laughed. You can remember John at the hearing of another's voice saying "it the Lord"; oh how our hearts lightened up. You can remember Thomas and the other's looking at each other as if to say "well someone better hang on to this net or esle we loose all these fish"; oh how we smiled. The fish nearly pulled us to shore as if to get a glimps of our Jesus. It was a crazy crazy night, but one that each one of you will fondly remember perhaps even to your last awkward moments together, perhaps even to the moment of hearing of the passing of another of these friends much later on. It is a bonding moment, a life long bond, and the taste of fresh fish smoked over dried beach wood will never taste so good. Women have these moments. Men have these moments. We could of course try to make more out of it for ourselves, you know Peter with all of his professional skills could not catch a fish that night, you know this is the second time Jesus has surprised Peter in this same manner, you know ministry is often the same with our own resources verses the Lord'. You just know there are some lessons that we could take out of this. I choose this time to believe that this was a moment for these men in particular, with everything that has recently happened, all of the pressure they've all been under, a time to just be "buds" with our Lord. It was a perfect moment. Yea there is more to it; there always is. The faith I have in our Lord is that He is just as real and just as pleasurable as any body that you would ever hope to meet, that He enjoys the simple moments because often they are the longest lasting, that He enjoys hearty conversation and joyous song and dance by a fire sometimes until dusk. The faith of our Lord is in our deeply bonded fellowship, Him to us, us to Him, us to one another, all with the Father. Certainly there is much work to be done all the time, but there must also be within that these moments of fellowship and communion. I bet our Lord cooks a mean fish!
December31 @ @ RandyP comments: devotion:FaithOfJesus kjv@John:21:15-25 FOLLOW ME - Two of our favorite personalities of the bible Peter and John face the ultimate question in our final passage. Peter is asked directly by Jesus "do you love me". John reports to us from a curious distance. Three times Peter is asked and what could he honestly say? What could any of us say? Peter just a week or so ago had denied Jesus three times. Peter has learned first hand of the often cloudy climate of intention and misguided result within our hearts. So must we. Jesus twice is asking however if Peter loves with the "agape" that Jesus loves him with. With much thought Peter admits that he loves Him more like a brother. Could any of us truly respond rather in the affirmative? Peter answers with naked honesty. I don't know whether John understands at this point either. He writes some sixty years later with much introspection addressing himself simply as "the one Jesus loved"; perhaps the best answer of all. We love Jesus best we can because He first loves us best that anyone can, in so doing He teaches us what it means to be agape loved. Any agape form of love we have is solely a reflection of the love with which He has always loved us. Peter is asked the third time "do you love me then like you say as a brother"? Taking the inquiry a step further, do any of us even know what the brotherly form of love is all about? Could we know without first knowing His agape love? Jesus here presents these questions to Peter further as a "if/then" conditional statement. It is almost better translated "if you feed on My agape then feed My agape to My other sheep as well". We easily fall into the trap of thinking that it is our love that we are to show and so too we forget that we are all His sheep; our love/our (or scattered disassociated) sheep/our feeding. His sheep need fed His agape not the mere human resemblance of it. If we have any resemblance of love of our own for Jesus we would know this. This ties into the notion of abiding fully in His love and therein/thereby producing fruit. The moment we step out of that love into a lesser forms of love from our own reserve our fruitfulness withers detached from the vine. It also ties into the notion that we are to crucify our former self daily as a living sacrifice being transformed by the renewing of our minds, as much of our mind is going about doing our own forms of love and not His. Couldn't the question be interpreted "I know from which love you love me by the love with which you are feeding my sheep"? Peter's love one day will become sacrificial and will glorify this very Savior, not to confuse it with the Saviors though. It will remain within the agape love Jesus has shown all men. In Peter's case it matters not what the other men like John will be called to do because it all is the working of the Lord's agape. We are compelled by the agape love of Christ to freely partake and distribute of said agape to the benefit of all His children. The faith our Lord is that we can come to know His agape love and that it is His agape love will can be presented and distributed to all men world wide. It is often best combined with our more agape infused brotherly forms of love as that is what we are more generally suited to produce. However, it must always be the focus of His agape not our forms for that is where all credit truly lays. The honor of fielding His banner into the unknown territories is the greatest form of due respect to Him possible. It is an honor men like Peter and John and others have followed and for some even died for.